Law is a system of rules that govern the actions of people in a particular country or community. It may include both specific laws that are enforced by governments and the rules of public policy pertaining to issues such as health, safety, education and other areas of life.
The study of law is a field of study that encompasses many fields, including the legal system, history and philosophy of law, law enforcement and international law. It covers a wide range of topics, from criminal law and family law to tax and social security law, environmental law and human rights.
A definition of law from Oxford Reference is as follows:
Law implies imposition by a sovereign authority on a person or organization with the obligation of obedience to that authority (or, in nonreligious use, the principle of obedience). The word also refers to prescription by authority in order to control an organization or system (or, in nonreligious use, a principle or rule commonly accepted as valid guide).
A law or rule can be made by a government and is enforced by a police force. If a person breaks a law, they could be fined or jailed.
The legal system of a nation serves various purposes, from keeping the peace to maintaining the status quo to protecting individual rights, and promoting social justice and orderly social change. Some systems serve these purposes better than others.
In most countries, laws are made by the government, and citizens must abide by them or face punishment. For example, if you steal money, you could be fined or sent to jail.
Courts have a special responsibility to uphold the rule of law, especially in cases where a majority group violates the rights of minority groups or individuals. When the law is not respected, courts may hold hearings and hear both sides of a dispute to find a solution that benefits all involved.
Lawyers are professionals who represent people in disputes, negotiate contracts, and write legal documents on their behalf. They are regulated by the government and independent bodies that oversee their profession, such as a bar association or bar council. They are governed by specified legal procedures and qualifications, such as passing qualifying examinations or earning a law degree.
A lawyer is typically a member of a law firm, which usually consists of several lawyers. Depending on the size of the firm, attorneys may work in different offices and have diverse roles.
The legal system of a state, territory or country is the set of laws that govern its behavior and are the basis for its constitution. It includes both legislative statutes and judicial decisions, as well as regulations issued by the executive branch of government.
There are two major types of legal systems, civil law and common law. The former is a system of laws originating in continental Europe, while the latter is based on the laws of English common law.
Both legal systems are based on a set of rules and principles that govern the behaviors and interactions of all members of a society, and are regarded as legitimate by other societies or nations. The legal system of a nation often incorporates a written code that sets forth these rules, and judges apply the code to their decisions.