Law is a system of rules that governs the way people behave in society. These can include laws on crime, business contracts and social relationships.
Legal systems vary in their effectiveness and aims and differ across nations and cultures. Some have been designed to keep the peace and maintain the status quo (such as those governed by authoritarian governments), while others promote social justice and orderly change.
Definitions of Law
The precise definition of law is a topic of debate, but it generally includes a set of universal principles that are agreed upon by most societies. These include the rule of law, the principle of equality, and the right to a fair trial.
A law is a written document, typically a statute, or an administrative act, issued by a government. It can be enforced by the state or a private actor.
Traditionally, laws were made and enforced by a government, but in modern societies the law is often created and maintained through a variety of sources. These include a group legislature or single legislator, resulting in statutes; an executive through decrees and regulations; and established by judges through precedent, usually in common law jurisdictions.
A jurisprudential theory of law is one that tries to explain why law is what it is and why some legal systems are more effective at achieving the objectives they aim to achieve than others. It also attempts to explain why some legal systems tend to be more consistent than others.