What Is Law?


Law is a system of rules and principles that govern the behavior of people, governments and companies in society. It also provides a means for peacefully resolving disputes. For example, if two people claim ownership of property, the law can decide who is the rightful owner. It also protects people from being hurt or exploited by others. This helps to create a safe and orderly society.

Laws are created and enforced by legal professionals called judges, lawyers, and jurists. They are trained to understand and interpret the legal system and are held to a strict standard of honesty and integrity. They are sworn to uphold the law and not to let personal or political bias influence their decisions. A judge must also keep up to date on the latest laws and case law.

The law is a set of enforceable, systematic rules that are created and enforced by the state. It includes public and private laws, as well as judicial rules and procedures. It is a framework that establishes the authority and responsibilities of the government, including the separation of powers and the rule of law. The rule of law is an international principle that requires a state to have well-defined laws, open and transparent processes for making those laws, and impartial courts for adjudicating cases involving the law.

Law can be created by legislative acts, executive orders or judicial rulings. It may also be established by constitutional provisions, treaties and customary practices. There are various types of law, such as commercial, criminal, and family law. Some laws are not universally applicable, such as the law of war and the law of treason.

A law is a statement of an invariable relationship among phenomena under certain conditions. A physical law, such as Boyle’s law, states that the volume of an ideal gas will remain constant if its pressure remains the same and its temperature stays the same. Laws are based on reason and are therefore objective. Laws can be written or unwritten, and are used to regulate behavior and to solve conflict.

Legal rights can be classified as privileges, powers, or immunities, or as claims in personam or in rem. Privilege- and power-rights determine what right-holders must do or may do, and rights in rem designate a specific and definite right-object. For example, a contract-right determines what right-holders must promise to do or can do, and a property-right determines that right-holders own or are correlatively owed certain things (Lyons 1970: 189). Claim-rights are, in the narrow sense of the term, entitlements for a particular type of thing. For instance, a law may authorize a person to receive compensation for damages in a civil lawsuit. Alternatively, a law may prohibit the use of force in a war. Legal validity for legal rights flows from other norms, or from sources of law such as the constitution or treaties (Sumner 1987: 27-29). For example, a legal right to an inheritance is derived from the constitution.