What is Law?


Law is a set of rules that are enforced through social or governmental institutions to control behavior. It shapes politics, economics and history in many ways and is a mediator of relations between people. Laws can be made by a legislature through statutes, or based on precedent in common law jurisdictions.

Laws regulate behaviour, protect rights and prevent crime. They can also provide a framework for business. For example, contract law is the basis of most commercial activity, and tax law sets minimum standards for taxable income. Laws can be private or public, and can deal with the responsibilities of corporations or individuals.

A legal system reflects the values and beliefs of its society. The way it treats the poor or minorities, for example, will be reflected in how the law is made and applied. In addition, it will reflect religious belief – for example, Islamic Sharia law is a significant part of the legal systems of some countries.

The study of law can be very diverse, and a career in the field is very attractive to many students. For example, some lawyers specialise in employment law or divorce cases, while others focus on international law and treaty negotiations. Regardless of the area, laws are often complex and difficult to understand. In addition to the technical language, there is often a strong political element in areas such as tort law, which deals with compensation for wrongful injury or defamation, and water law, which regulates the provision of utilities such as water, electricity and gas.

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