What Is Law?


Law is a system of rules that are created and enforced by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It is a source of scholarly inquiry in a number of fields, including philosophy, economic analysis and sociology, as well as a subject of study for students interested in pursuing a career as a lawyer or judge.

The fundamental purposes of any legal system are to establish standards, maintain order, resolve disputes and protect liberty and rights. Various systems serve these goals in different ways. For example, an authoritarian government may keep the peace and maintain the status quo, but it can also oppress minorities or political opponents (as in Burma, Zimbabwe or Iraq under Saddam Hussein). On the other hand, a democracy may make laws that allow for limited freedom of speech and religion, while maintaining the rule of law to protect property, contracts and human rights.

While the precise definition of Law varies from person to person, it is usually described as a set of rules that governs the rights and obligations of individuals and groups in society. These laws can be codified, but they may also be derived from custom, case law or common law. Many legal systems also have religious or canon law. While these systems differ from one another, they all share some common elements based on historically accepted justice ideals.

Unlike other social sciences, the field of Law is unique in that it deals with normative statements. These statements are not based on empirical evidence or causality, but rather on the moral and philosophical beliefs of those who write them. This makes it difficult to compare the study of Law with a science like biology or even social science such as economics or sociology.

For example, a law professor might argue that the current patent system is flawed because it allows for the creation of “patent trolls” who are simply trying to make money off of a patent’s value by demanding payments for every use of the technology. In contrast, a law student might advocate that patents should only be awarded to those who actually need them and who can afford the high cost of a patent.

The law also addresses a wide variety of issues, such as the role of judicial bias and racial discrimination in courts, the right to privacy in modern society, the nature of the family in modern culture, the ethics of legal practice and the relationship of law to religious freedoms and other social values. It is a fascinating area of study that continues to evolve as societies and cultures change. Law can be complicated, but it is a necessary and important part of any society. Law is something everyone needs, regardless of whether they are lawyers or not. It is essential for any democratic society. In fact, without the rule of Law, society would collapse. Therefore, the more we understand it, the better able we will be to preserve and protect it.