What Is Law?

What Is Law?


Law is a set of rules that governments and other social organizations enact to regulate human behavior. It is a complex area of study, with precise definitions and varying methods of interpretation.

Legal systems serve a variety of purposes in a nation, including keeping the peace, maintaining the status quo, preserving individual rights, protecting minorities against majorities, promoting social justice, and providing for orderly social change. Some legal systems better serve these functions than others, however.

The term law refers to all the regulations that a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members, regardless of whether they are codified in a written or tacit form. These regulations can be found in statutes, governmental decrees or laws made by judges.

There are many branches of law, spanning virtually every area of life. These include the legal system of a nation, civil law, and criminal law.

The law is a field of academic study that shapes politics, economics, history and society in various ways and serves as a mediator of relations between people.

In a legal context, the term “right” usually refers to a norm exhibiting Hohfeldian forms (MacCormick 1982: 163; Hart 1982: 183; 1983: 35). These norms can be either claim-rights, privilege-rights, power-rights, or immunities.

According to the Will Theory, rights provide right-holders with a measure of normative control over themselves or others, functioning to make them small-scale sovereigns over certain domains and enabling them to exercise as a matter of choice the duties owed to them by others. In addition, rights function to give them a degree of autonomy over those whose duties are owed to them by allowing them to choose to cancel, waive, enforce, or transfer such duties.

While some rights can be active or passive, some, such as privilege-rights, can only be exercised when a duty is actually owed to them. Some, such as immunities, cannot be changed without violating an unchanging principle of law.

Some law, such as criminal law, is a specific area of law that pertains to the punishment of crimes and the enforcement of the laws that protect people from harm. Other law, such as the law of contract, reflects the relationship between a person and another person, such as an employer and a worker.