What Is Law?


Law is a system of rules, regulations and principles that governs the behavior of individuals in a community to maintain social order. It is enforced by a central authority. Laws are often interpreted by courts. Blackstone described judges as “the depositories of the law; living oracles, bound by oath to decide on all doubtful cases according to the established law.”

A person is guilty of breaking the law when they act in a way that contradicts the laws set by their society or government. Laws can be moral, religious or secular. Moral laws typically forbid actions that harm others or infringe on a person’s rights. Religious laws enjoin actions that promote piety and good behavior. For example, a person who marries more than one wife violates the biblical prohibition against bigamy.

In physics, the term law may refer to the result/reality of a phenomenon rather than its underlying cause. For example, the law of gravity states that anything thrown up in the air will come down. This is an indisputable fact that is consistent, regardless of whether or not the observer sees the event immediately.

The concept of law is complex and different from place to place, because nations have vastly differing political landscapes. For instance, a nation ruled by an authoritarian government may keep the peace and maintain the status quo, but it also may oppress minorities or encourage repression of political opponents.

There are four principal functions of law: establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes, and protecting liberties and rights. A legal system can accomplish these goals more effectively or less effectively depending on the nation’s political landscape and the stability of its government.

In the legal profession, law is commonly defined as a body of rules and principles that defines the rights and obligations of both parties in a dispute. A lawyer must be knowledgeable in the legal process and the law to advise a client on the best course of action.

Law is a broad term that encompasses many types of laws. Some of the most common laws include contract, property and criminal laws. Contract law regulates agreements between people to exchange goods or services, and property laws determine a person’s rights and duties toward tangible items like land and buildings. Criminal law is the branch of law that deals with punishing violations of state-imposed standards of conduct. The concept of law can also be used to describe a field of study, such as Zola’s desire to pursue a career in the law.