What Is Law?

The law is a system of rules that defines people’s rights and duties. It affects politics, economics, history and society in a wide variety of ways. Laws can be made and enforced by a variety of institutions, including governments, courts and police forces.

Many different branches of law exist, covering all aspects of everyday life. Contract law regulates all agreements that exchange goods, services or anything else of value and covers everything from buying a bus ticket to trading options on a derivatives market. Property law defines a person’s rights and duties toward tangible property, such as land or buildings, and personal possessions, such as cars or clothes, whereas intellectual property laws govern the ownership of things like music or patents. Employment law dictates workers’ wages and conditions of work and labour regulations cover all working people, including self-employed persons. Banking law imposes minimum standards of capital that banks must hold, and financial regulation ensures that banks follow best practice in investment. Laws governing public utilities such as water or energy are another area of regulatory law.

There are also specialised legal fields such as criminal, constitutional, administrative and family law. Criminal law aims to prevent people from breaking the law and punishes them if they do. Constitutional law focuses on the way in which a country’s constitution is written and how the separate parts of a government are structured. Administrative law relates to the procedures that must be followed by government agencies and consists of rules on how to do things, such as registering property or granting licences. Family law deals with issues such as marriage and divorce and children’s rights. There are also specialist fields of law relating to business and money, such as aviation law, bankruptcy and commercial transactions. Medical jurisprudence and biolaw are areas that sit at the intersection of law with the life sciences.

Generally, laws are written by legislators in a parliament or congress, who are elected to represent the people’s interests. They may be voted on and approved in a formal process, resulting in statutes; or they can be created by executive decree, with consequences set out in regulations and orders; or by judges through precedent, with decisions recorded in case law. In countries with civil law systems, judges also resolve disputes and determine the guilt or innocence of those accused of crimes.

People’s relationship with the law can be influenced by culture, religion and political structure. For example, a Muslim country may have a Shari’ah law that sets out how citizens should behave. Other influences include the social sciences, such as Max Weber, whose work reshaped thinking about the extension of power by the state and how this might be regulated by the law. In a democratic society, there is also a strong influence on the law from the citizens themselves, through the voting system and pressure groups such as lobbyists. This has a profound effect on the development of legislation in democratic nations.

By adminssk
No widgets found. Go to Widget page and add the widget in Offcanvas Sidebar Widget Area.