What is Law?


Law is a body of rules created and enforced by institutions that regulate behaviour. These rules are generally based on the idea of social justice. Law is a complex concept that is different from other disciplines such as science and philosophy. It has a normative and prescriptive nature and it is also different from descriptive or causal statements, such as those of empirical science (such as the law of gravity) or even social science (such as the laws of supply and demand).

The main purposes of law are to keep the peace, maintain order, preserve individual rights, protect minorities against majorities, promote social justice and allow for ordered social change. The way a nation makes and enforces its laws is unique to that country. Some governments make and enforce laws that are democratic and equitable; others oppress minorities or engage in violence against opposition groups, or both. A nation that is stable and governed by a strong central authority makes it easier for people to live their lives.

Laws covering specific areas include administrative law, which covers regulating businesses; criminal law, which deals with the punishment of offences; family law, which regulates marriage and divorce; property law, which relates to the ownership and transfer of property; and statutory law, which is legislation passed by parliament. Other fields of law include contract law, which regulates commercial transactions; space law, which deals with international relations in outer space; and taxation law, which relates to the taxation of companies and individuals.

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