Law is the system of rules created by a society or a state to control human conduct. It is enforced by institutions with the power to punish people who break the rules. Law has a broad variety of purposes, but four principal ones are establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes and protecting liberties and rights. Some legal systems are more effective at serving these functions than others. Law is a product of political action, and the political landscape differs widely from nation to nation. For example, an authoritarian government may keep the peace and maintain social stability but it is unlikely to protect minorities or promote social justice. In contrast, a constitutional democracy is likely to achieve all of these goals.
The law may be written by a legislative body, resulting in statutes; by an executive branch, resulting in regulations and decrees; or established by courts, resulting in case law. Each of these methods can produce different results, but all are subject to the same basic requirements. For instance, a judge’s decision must be based on the law and facts of a particular case and must not be influenced by bias or illegitimate influences.
Lawyers and judges who write the law have a special responsibility to make sure it is fair and unbiased. This means that they must read all the relevant laws and regulations and use them as a guideline when deciding what to do in a particular case. In addition, they must be aware of the current legal trends in a particular jurisdiction.
A good law student or a practicing lawyer should read the articles on this website and take notes that they will be able to refer back to for inspiration when writing a legal article. In doing so, they will be able to improve the quality of their work.
There are many types of law, but some of the most important include contract, criminal, family, property, and tax law. Contract law regulates agreements between people, including contracts to buy or sell things like cars and houses. Criminal law deals with punishment for crimes such as murder and robbery. Family law covers marriage and divorce proceedings, and the rights of children. Property law defines people’s rights and duties toward tangible property (such as land or buildings) and intangible property, such as money and stock options.
Philosophers have debated the nature of law for centuries. John Austin, a utilitarian, defined law as “commands, backed by the threat of sanctions, from a superior authority to which men have a habit of obedience.” Natural lawyers, such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, argued that law is based on innate moral principles. Hans Kelsen, a German philosopher, developed a theory of law that was neither utilitarian nor natural. He called it a ‘normative science’. It was a theory that sought to explain the nature of the law and how it should change. This theory became the foundation of modern law.