What Is Law?


Law is the body of rules that govern the behavior of individuals in a community. It also helps people make decisions about right and wrong in various situations.

Legality is the guarantee that an agreement is enforceable under the law of a particular jurisdiction. This assurance is important in contracts, insurance and other business transactions.

Rule-making and enforcement by government agencies, primarily the legislature. Legislative materials include bills of rights and constitutions, statutes, and regulations. They can be accessed through indexes or tables of contents in books, as well as online via Lexis Advance and Westlaw.

Administrative laws are made by administrative agencies, under the authority of the legislature and include executive orders and proclamations, as well as legal rulings by administrative law judges and other members of the executive branch. These materials can be accessed through indexes or books in the Reserve Reading Room, as well as online via Lexis Advance, Westlaw, and other legal research platforms.

Treatises are scholarly works on specific areas of law, such as contracts, torts or property. They are often multi-volume sets, and provide in-depth commentary and analysis on the subject matter.

Casebooks are lightly edited collections of cases on topics such as contracts, torts or property that provide students with a doctrinal foundation for developing case-analysis skills. They are a great way to get started in the study of legal issues and the law.

Restatements are summaries of rules of law on various topics, such as conflicts of law, contracts, foreign relations, judgments, property, torts, and trusts. These are found in volumes of varying length, and can be located using indexes or tables of contents.

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