What Is Law?


Law is the set of rules that are enforceable by governmental and social institutions. It is an essential aspect of public policy, which shapes society and economics.

Legal systems can be separated into three main categories: common law, civil law, and international law. Each legal system has different features. Common law is a rule-based system that is more rigid. Civil law, on the other hand, is more flexible. The practice of law is typically overseen by government or an independent regulating body.

Law is often defined as “the science of justice” but this description does not describe its role. Law is not simply a set of rules, it is a process that serves as a medium between people, and in doing so it shapes history, economics, politics, and more.

In modern systems, laws can be made by the executive or a legislature, or they can be created by the public. Laws can also be made by private individuals who form legally binding contracts. These contracts may be subject to oversight by the governing body. Some jurisdictions have courts that review and regulate private agreements. This is often referred to as arbitration.

A common law legal system explicitly acknowledges that decisions by the court are “law”. It is characterized by a doctrine of precedent, which means that the same court’s decision will bind future courts.

In a civil law legal system, judges write only to settle a single case, whereas in a common law system, judges can be called upon to interpret or decide a number of cases. Thus, a court’s interpretation of the law is a key factor in determining the outcome of a case.

Another type of law is called religious law. The Quran and Islamic Sharia are examples of such law. Religious law is based on religious precepts and is influenced by consensus. However, religion for law often implies that the words of God are unchangeable.

Modern laws are shaped by the constitutions and laws of each nation. These can be a major influence on how the rights of individuals are enshrined. They can also be a source of conflict of laws.

A variety of types of law exist, including administrative law, business law, transactional law, and criminal law. Generally speaking, these laws are regulated by federal or state governments. Examples of regulations include environmental protection, water, and tax law.

There are also more specialized forms of law. For example, there are specialized areas of sea and aviation law. While these laws are often aligned with the ICAO standards, they are continually evolving to accommodate new technologies and requirements.

Other types of law include nationality law, which covers rights of foreigners to live and work in a nation-state. Additionally, immigration law addresses the rights of foreigners to live, work, or seek asylum in a country. Finally, there are also laws relating to personal property and intellectual property.

When a lawyer becomes a judge, he or she must have a degree from an academic institution, usually a Juris Doctor or a Bachelor of Laws. Higher academic degrees such as a Masters of Legal Studies, a Master of Arts in Legal Studies, or a PhD in Law are sometimes available.