What Is Law?


Law is the set of rules that a society or government creates in order to deal with crimes, business agreements, and social relationships. It is typically enforced by punishing those who break the rules, such as by fines or imprisonment.

Legal systems vary widely from one country to the next, and even within a single country. However, they tend to fall into groups or patterns based on historically accepted justice ideals. The most common legal systems are common law, civil law, and religious or customary law.

A legal system’s rules are typically organized into codes, which are easily accessible to citizens and jurists. They are designed to promote cooperation and order, a focus on logical and dynamic taxonomy, a general-to-specific approach, clarity of expression, and an openness to adaptation to change.

Law is most commonly associated with the notion of rights, which have been defined as a set of normative positions (claim-rights, privilege-rights, power-rights, and immunities). Each of these Hohfeldian positions determines what right-holders should do or may do, and what their correlative duties are to right-objects. Claims and privileges are active, whereas powers and immunities are passive.

In general, law consists of those rules devised by man that he deems to be in the best interest of society as a whole. It also includes laws enacted by governmental bodies, which are publically promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, with measures to ensure the supremacy of the law, accountability to the law, equality before the law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty, and avoidance of arbitrariness.