What is Law?


Law is a system of rules a society develops to deal with crime, business agreements, and social relationships. It is also a career for some people. The term is often used to refer to a specific branch of the legal field, such as criminal law or business law.

A law is a set of rules imposed by authority upon those under its control commanding what is right and prohibiting what is wrong. It is permanent as to time and uniform as to persons, being equally applicable in all places. It must be based on something that is objectively true and certain (e.g., Boyle’s law, which states that the volume of an ideal gas will increase with its pressure and temperature remains constant).

In a society, laws serve four principal purposes: they establish standards, maintain order, resolve disputes, and protect liberties and rights. They can be established by either a government or by the voluntary cooperation of individuals, or both.

The branch of law most hospitable to the Will Theory is private law, which empowers right-holders with normative power (i.e., the power to change a normative landscape) to control as their choice the duties owed to them by others and the correlative powers, privileges, or immunities that are associated with these rights (Hart 1982: 183-4).

Civil law systems, which derive from Roman law with some influence from canon law and are found throughout the world, usually cover about 60% of the global population. They are based on concepts, categories, and rules inherited from ancient Rome and are largely supplemented or modified by local custom and culture.

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