What Is Law?


Law is the system of rules that a society or government develops to deal with crime, business agreements and social relationships. It is also the name of a profession, which includes lawyers and judges who use these laws to defend people’s rights or to secure justice.

The word is derived from Latin, which means “laws” or “rules.” It was first used in the Roman Empire to mean the body of rules that were recognized as binding and enforced by an authority. It is a broad discipline that covers many aspects of life, including criminal law, family law, constitutional law, intellectual property, tax law and international law.


A legal system is a set of rules that are recognized by a country or community and enforced through the use of a court and a law enforcement agency. There are several different types of legal systems, each with its own unique characteristics and traditions.

Civil law is the primary form of legal system found in most of the world, with major influences from Roman law and a tradition of codification. This system favors cooperation, order, and predictability.

Common law is a second important type of system, also found on most continents. It is based on concepts, categories and rules derived from classical Roman law, sometimes supplemented by canon law and local custom or culture.

These systems are characterized by a logical and dynamic taxonomy of principles and rules, based on the principle that the law should be simple and easily understood. They were developed to avoid excessive detail and allow for adaptation to changes in the conditions of life.

Legislative law is the process by which laws are enacted or changed to meet changing needs and circumstances. It includes both the drafting and the passage of legislation. It is generally governed by the legislature, but can be administered by the executive branch or by courts. The president of the United States vetoes some legislation, but Congress has the power to override a presidential veto by a two-thirds majority in both houses.

Committee reports are a key part of the legislative process. They provide background information about a proposed law, its rationale, and its effect on citizens. They are a valuable source of information for both judges and legislators.

Election law deals with rules governing elections, such as who is eligible to vote, the procedures for voting and counting, and disputes over the conduct of elections. It is often a subset of constitutional law, which deals with the rule of law and the rights of the people.

Environmental law is another area of law that concerns issues such as pollution, health and safety and conservation of natural resources. It is increasingly important, particularly in light of the Kyoto Protocol and the potential danger of climate change.

The word law is also used to refer to the profession of lawyers and judges, and a career in this field is popular with young people. It can be a rewarding and satisfying profession, as it involves advising people on their legal rights and defending them in court.