What Is Law?


Law is a system of rules, standards and principles imposed by a government or other authority that enforces order and justice. Laws govern a range of things, from the standards of conduct instilled by family and religion to the regulations governing workplace safety and criminal investigations. It also encompasses the legal rights and responsibilities of citizens in civil disputes, such as divorce or child custody.

The most common use of the term “law” is to refer to a set of formal statutes and other enforceable rules that govern a nation. These laws are drafted by governmental bodies that represent the interests of the people, and they are enforced by police and other agencies and interpreted by courts. In the US, law also includes legal precedent, a record of rulings from previous cases that can be used in new ones. This allows for consistent application of legal rules across the country.

Idealistic definitions of law include the notion that laws are solemn expressions of legislative will and announce rewards and punishments. Another definition is that law is a system of commands and principles recognized by the governing power of an organized jural society to guide the conduct of its members. Law is a tool for the governance of human societies, and it can be used to control behavior, keep peace, protect minorities against majorities, regulate economic activities and promote social change. However, some systems of law serve these purposes better than others.

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