Law is a system of rules that society and governments develop in order to deal with things like crime. These rules are enforced by police and courts, and people who break them may be punished, such as by having to pay a fine or being sent to prison. People also use the term “law” to refer to the profession of lawyers, who study the law and help people to get justice from the law.
In modern times most countries have a constitution that sets out the overall framework of laws, and then laws in each field, to make it easier for them to govern their citizens. People also have a wide range of legal rights that they can use to defend themselves and protect their interests, such as the right to free speech.
The law covers all sorts of areas of activity, from business and money to family and property. Contract law regulates the way that people agree to exchange goods and services, and it includes such things as buying a bus ticket or trading options on the stock market. Criminal law deals with defending against and prosecuting criminal acts, such as murder or theft. Family law includes matters such as divorce proceedings and the rights of children. Tort law helps people to claim compensation (repayment) when they have been hurt or have had their property damaged by someone else.
Intellectual property law protects creative works, such as music and art, and the name of a company or brand is protected by a type of law called trademark. Employment law covers the tripartite industrial relationship between worker, employer and trade union, and workplace rights include job security and health and safety regulations. Civil procedure and criminal procedure law set out the rules that courts must follow as they try a case or hear an appeal. Evidence law involves which materials can be used in court for a case to be built.
Many of the rules that make up the law are written down, and the law system has an official body, such as a parliament or congress, which is elected by the governed peoples to write and vote on laws. In some countries the law is also based on custom and practices that are considered to be fair and just.
In the law system of a country with a strong respect for precedent, judges consider the decisions that have been made in previous cases about a specific situation when deciding what the law is on the matter at hand. This makes it easier for everyone to know what the law is, and avoids disputes about what the right course of action is. In jurisdictions with weak respect for precedent, fine points of the law must often be determined afresh in each case, which can cause longer procedures and larger expenditure on legal fees by the parties involved. This is why many people want to study law. It’s a fascinating subject, and it offers lots of opportunities for future careers in the world of work.