What is Law?


Law is a system of rules that a society or government develops in order to deal with crime, business agreements and social relationships. It also refers to the profession of lawyers, judges etc who work in this area.

A rule or principle sanctioned by conscience, concepts of natural justice or the will of a deity: moral law. A general system of governing principles and policies: constitutional law. A written collection of such principles: statutory law. The department of knowledge concerned with these rules: jurisprudence.

Law serves many purposes but four are establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes and protecting liberties and rights. Legal systems vary in their approach to each of these but all are designed to ensure that citizens, institutions and corporations are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, evenly enforced and independently adjudicated.

The precise definition of law is controversial but it has generally been taken to mean a set of enforceable rules that govern behaviour. Typically laws are created and enforced by a system of courts in which a judge or jury makes decisions based on evidence presented by both parties. These rulings become precedents that shape future decisions until societal changes prompt a court to overturn them.

Civil law is a system of governing principles and policies established by a state or nation, either through legislation or through customs and policies recognized and enforced by judicial decision. It differs from common law in that it tends to provide clear rules governing certain areas of life while still leaving room for interpretation and creative jurisprudence.

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