Law is a system of rules that governs the behavior of people in a society. In general, the laws that a society has are set by the government of that society, and individuals must follow those laws or face punishment if they break them.
The definition of law is an area of debate among philosophers and historians. Many view it as a dynamic concept that changes with time and place. Some view it as a means to social justice, while others view it as a tool of social engineering.
A common example of law is the rules that govern a society’s criminal laws. These laws are established by the government, and if someone breaks them, they may be punished or imprisoned.
Generally, law serves to (1) keep the peace; (2) maintain the status quo; (3) preserve individual rights; (4) protect minorities against majorities; (5) promote social justice; and (6) provide for orderly social change. The legal system of a country or community can be used to accomplish these goals, but some systems are better at achieving them than others.
In a civil law system, the body of legal rules is created and enforced through a government, or through private contracts and agreements. Some countries have separate legal systems for different areas, such as commerce and banking, but most countries have a single civil law system.
Another type of law is contract law, where individuals agree to a specific set of legal rules when they create a business or trade agreement. These contracts are enforceable by the government or through court action, and can be difficult to challenge.
Other types of law are administrative law, which deals with governmental regulations; and tort law, which deals with lawsuits, including personal injury and property damage cases. A third type is regulatory law, which deals with how governments regulate the production or sale of certain products or services.
There are also special legal systems that apply to particular groups of people, such as women and children, or people with disabilities. For instance, in India, there is a law against child labour.
A person who is a lawyer has legal training, which is often obtained through a university degree. He or she has a distinct professional identity, is regulated by the law, and is usually required to pass a qualifying exam in order to be admitted to practice.
Lawyers are trained in the law and must adhere to the code of ethics of their profession, which is regulated by an independent body such as a bar association, bar council or law society.
The practice of law is divided into three main categories: advocacy, litigation and counseling. Advocates advise clients and negotiate on their behalf, while litigators represent them in court proceedings and trial.
Some lawyers specialize in a particular field of law, such as taxation or family law. Other professionals handle several fields of law simultaneously, such as intellectual property, real estate or environmental law.