Law is a set of rules and principles that govern the conduct of people, businesses, governments and organisations. These laws provide for order and justice, and enact penalties for violations.
Laws can be based on common principles or they can reflect natural or moral laws that apply in all areas of life. Utilitarian lawyers such as John Austin argued that laws are “commands, backed by threat of sanctions, from a sovereign, to whom people have a habit of obedience”.
Natural lawyers, on the other hand, argue that law is a collection of primary rules of obligation that derive their validity from secondary rules of recognition. In this view, there is no absolute morality that applies to all situations, only the best and most efficient way to enforce justice.
The subject of law is extensive and covers the entire spectrum of human activity. It is a complex and diverse area of study that covers everything from business to a person’s right to freedom.
Property law deals with the ownership and possession of land, including rights to use it for a particular purpose. It includes land registration and regulation of the use of personal property, such as cars, jewellery and computers.
Legal systems vary from country to country, and political change can have a significant impact on law. A repressive government, for example, can make it harder to create and enforce laws.
Criminal law relates to crimes such as murder, fraud and assault. It can also include lesser offenses such as treason and sedition.