What Is Law?


Law is a set of rules that is enforced by governmental and social institutions. The main purposes of law include orderly social change and preservation of human rights and property. It also serves as a guide to a community. A person’s right to life and liberty are based on the law.

Legal issues can arise from a variety of situations. Some common legal issues involve problems such as immigration, housing and debt. Other legal issues include the rights of children, property, money, and the right to work.

The concept of law emerged from ancient Greek philosophy. Later, it was used as an explanation of moral laws of nature. During the Middle Ages, the concept was re-introduced through the writings of Thomas Aquinas. In the modern period, the definition of law was reshaped by Max Weber, who argued that it should be regarded as a profession and a social science.

Laws are written down in statutes and judicial decisions, which are abstracted from the day-to-day reality. Some examples of statutory law are water and gas regulation, tax law, and employment law.

Case law is a type of law that deals with unique disputes. These cases can be based on regulations, judicial decisions, and concrete facts. Often, case law is based on a doctrine known as precedent, which means that a decision made by a higher court binds other courts to follow it.

Despite the differences in the legal systems, there are four universal principles that constitute the working definition of the rule of law. Those principles are fairness, equality, efficiency, and accountability. They are tested and developed by a wide range of experts worldwide.

Laws are generally made by governments, courts, or private individuals. Governments can make laws through the legislative or executive branch. Courts may also make laws, and can also create arbitration agreements between parties. If a person breaks a law, he could face a fine or jail time.

There are primarily three types of laws. Legislative, civil, and criminal. Most countries have a primarily legislative system that expresses rights and duties. However, some jurisdictions also have a civil law system, in which a specialized judicial decision is written down. Generally, these systems are shorter than their purely legislative counterparts.

In addition to the primarily legislative and the civil law systems, there are other legal systems, such as Islamic and Chinese law. Several mixed legal systems are found in Africa, America, and Europe.

For example, the Egyptian Civil Code is a significant influence on many African and Middle Eastern countries. Similarly, a nationality law is a law that protects the rights of foreigners to live and work in a country. Moreover, there are many multilateral treaties that are adopted and ratified by the United Nations.

The concept of law is important to our culture and history. It can be used to protect minorities against majorities and to promote social justice. It can also help maintain a stable status quo and provide orderly social change.