What Is Law?


Law is the system of rules that a society or government develops in order to deal with crime, business agreements and social relationships. It can also refer to the profession of people who work in this field, such as lawyers and judges.

There are many different definitions of law, since it is a complex subject. However, most agree that the laws created by a government provide a framework to ensure a safe and peaceful society. People who break these laws can be punished by the state.

The law is usually codified in written form, which makes it easy for people to understand. It can be amended or updated as society’s needs change, but it is important that the core principles remain unchanged. For example, it is against the law to discriminate on the basis of race or gender.

Law can also be used to describe a particular type of legal system, such as common law or civil law. This can help to distinguish it from other systems that may be based on different beliefs or traditions. For example, common law is based on the historical succession of judicial decisions, while civil law is based on legislative action.

Other types of law include employment law, which covers a tripartite industrial relationship between worker, employer and trade union; labour rights such as health and safety and the right to strike; and civil procedure and criminal procedure, which are the rules that courts must follow as they try a case or appeal. Evidence law is the set of rules that dictate what evidence can be used in court to build a case.

There are also a number of social laws, such as those that govern the behaviour of corporations and other organisations. These are intended to protect the interests of consumers, employees and shareholders.

It is also important that a country has effective checks on the power of the state, such as a free press and independent judiciary. This can prevent a dictatorship from taking control of the country. Max Weber reshaped thinking on this issue, arguing that the extension of state power over daily life poses special problems for accountability that earlier writers such as Locke or Montesquieu did not consider.

The concept of law can also be seen in a number of other fields, such as science or philosophy. For example, the law of gravity is an indisputable fact, whereas the law of quantum mechanics can be described as a probabilistic theory. This suggests that the law of gravity could be viewed as a bet on expected outcomes, rather than as something imposed by a judge or the prevailing consensus. This approach is called the ‘bettabilitarian’ view of law.