Law is the set of rules enforced by a government that citizens must follow or face punishment. These rules can be made by a legislature through laws (statutes), by an executive through decrees and regulations, or by judges through case law in common law jurisdictions. Laws can also be created and enforced by private individuals through legally binding contracts and arbitration agreements. Law can shape politics, economics, history and society in many ways, acting as a mediator between people in conflict.
A legal system can be considered good or bad depending on how well it serves its purposes, which are to keep the peace, maintain social order, protect rights of minorities against majorities, promote justice and enable healthy social change. Different systems of law serve these goals more effectively than others. For example, an authoritarian regime may keep the peace but can oppress minorities and suppress political opponents. In contrast, a liberal democracy is based on the rule of law but can fail to provide adequate protection of civil liberties or prevent crime.
The study of law involves exploring these deeper dimensions of the law, as well as debating issues that have shaped how we think about it. For example, there is a lively debate about whether judges should be free to ignore parts of the law that they find unpalatable or unfair, even if it has been passed into law by parliament. There is also a lot of discussion about the need for courts to be as transparent as possible in their decision-making and the need for the law to be written in plain language that is accessible to ordinary citizens.
There are a wide variety of career paths for those interested in law. For example, there are lawyers who specialize in criminal or family law, as well as those who focus on corporate transactions or the use of technology in the law. In addition, there are law clerks who assist judges with research and the writing of opinions, and librarians who meet the information needs of the courts.
Some of the most popular research insights in our library come from law firms, which produce articles and blog posts about legal topics that are relevant to their clients and prospects. These often cover the latest developments in a particular area of law, offer guidance on how to navigate a particular type of legal issue, or provide a list of next steps for clients.
Our research insights in law are provided through our databases and are available to anyone who subscribes to our journals or databases. You can access them from the databases and journal home pages, or via our Law Insights page. Here you can see a list of recent Law Insights, or you can browse by subject. You can also filter by topic to narrow your results and get exactly the types of insights you need. In this way, you can quickly identify the most helpful resources for your research.