What Is Law?

Law is a system of rules which governs the behavior of a group or society. These rules are imposed by an authority and they dictate what is permitted, forbidden or required. It may also include a penalty or sanction for breaking the rules. The term law can also refer to the judicial or legal profession, which is the practice of interpreting and applying these laws.

Law can be broadly divided into civil and criminal law. The former includes codes, statutes, and regulations which are legally binding on all citizens. This is contrasted with the latter, which involves the judicial interpretation of case law and customary practices. In some countries, these laws are codified by constitutions or statutory laws. In other countries, they are more loosely defined and based on traditional customs or social practices. The law also covers the relationships between people, between states, and among private individuals.

Historically, the law has served four main purposes: establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes and protecting liberties and rights. Its underlying philosophy is that the law is an instrument for promoting human cooperation and cohesion. It promotes trust between humans by making them accountable to each other, and it establishes clear, publicized and stable laws that are uniformly applied. The law provides security of property and contracts and safeguards the individual’s right to life, liberty, and privacy. Its processes are accessible, fair, and efficient, and they ensure that the law is unbiased and reflective of the makeup of the communities it serves.

A law is a system of rules imposed on those who are subject to it, commanding what is morally right and forbidding what is wrong. It is permanent as to time, uniform as to place and universal in its application. The law is created by a legislative authority, a supreme court or an executive agency. The judicial branch of government interprets the law by determining its meaning and by reviewing the actions of other courts. The law is enforced by the judicial branch through a variety of mechanisms, including courts of appeals, federal courts, state courts and local governments.

The law is an area of study which is both interesting and challenging. Law students must develop a broad understanding of the law in addition to focusing on their specializations. It is important to understand how the law relates to other disciplines, such as economics, ethics and political science. In addition, a law student must be prepared to think creatively about problems that cannot be solved by existing laws.

There are many sources for articles about the law, including specialized journals and the internet. The majority of law schools have a general-interest (or “flagship”) law review that publishes articles on a wide variety of topics. These publications are available in libraries and on a number of online legal databases, such as LexisNexis, Westlaw, HeinOnline and Gale. They are usually written by academics and are peer-reviewed. Most colleges and universities also have one or more specialized law reviews, such as the Washington University Law Review, Seattle Law Review and Gonzaga Law Review.