What Is Law?

Law is the framework for ensuring a peaceful society and for enforcing the rights of citizens. It shapes politics, economics, history and society in various ways and acts as a mediator of relations between people. Despite many debates and books containing a great variety of ideas and definitions about Law, it is generally agreed that the purpose of Law is to control human behavior in society by means of enforceable rules. These rules are created by a sovereign power, i.e. the government, which may impose sanctions on people who do not follow them.

Most laws are written in general terms so that they can apply to many different situations. However, this also makes them open to interpretation in individual cases. When a judge interprets the meaning of a specific provision of legislation in a particular circumstance, he or she considers the legislative intent, relevant case law and legal principles, as well as broader public policy considerations and societal values.

The judicial community generally tries to adhere to the principles of objectivity and impartiality when making decisions, although there is not always perfect concordance between these ideals and real-world jurisprudence. For example, a judge who is biased towards one side of a case will likely make poor betting results when placing bets on future court decisions.

Some governments are not democratic and are prone to authoritarian rule. As a result, there are many revolts against these governments each year. Laws can also be influenced by religion, with Jewish Halakha and Islamic Sharia acting as sources of law through interpretation, Qiyas and Ijma, as well as Christian canon law.