What Is Law?


Law is a system of rules created by a state which forms a framework to ensure a peaceful society and to punish people who break these rules with sanctions. It is hard to give a precise definition of Law because different individuals have different ideas and interpretations about what the Law actually is.

For example, some people believe that the Law is only what the sovereign – or the ruler – says it is. This is why tyrants are often able to create and enforce laws that they think will benefit them, even though these ‘laws’ may be bad for the rest of the population. This type of Law is sometimes called tyranny, and people who have been subject to it can often feel powerless because they cannot challenge the ruling authority or force it to change its decision.

Many countries use the common law system, where judges’ decisions on particular cases are collected and made into a body of Law called case law. Other countries, such as Japan, use a civil law system, where the courts follow a code that states how a judge should decide a case. The laws used by the courts in these different systems can vary greatly and this makes Law a very complex area of study and debate.

Nevertheless, there are certain areas of the Law that are quite broad. For example, contract law deals with all agreements between two or more parties involving some value, such as goods, services, money or property. Competition law covers businesses that try to monopolise or manipulate market prices, while employment law covers the rights of employees and employers. In the United States, Federal law is based on the Constitution and the laws passed by Congress. Many of these laws are then compiled into the United States Code, and judicial interpretations of what a statute or regulation means carry the same weight as the legislation itself under a doctrine called stare decisis.

Other parts of the Law include administrative law, which governs public organisations like utilities or government departments. This includes the rules and regulations that cover things such as telecommunications, banking or energy, and environmental law, which looks at how companies do business and how they affect the environment. Finally, there is criminal law, which governs crimes, such as murder and robbery, and family law, which deals with the laws that apply to couples and families. Those who practice Law are called lawyers and must obtain a qualification from a legal institution or other independent regulating body in order to be considered for work with the public. They must also be regulated in their practice and adhere to a code of professional conduct. In addition, all lawyers must pass a bar examination. This is a very rigorous process and helps to ensure that those who are practicing Law are competent and knowledgeable in their field. This also ensures that lawyers do not take advantage of clients.