What Is Law?


Law is a set of rules created by a place or authority that form a framework to ensure a peaceful society. These rules can be enforced and sanctions imposed when they are broken. The precise definition of Law is a topic of long-standing debate and different views are held by individuals and groups.

The laws of a region may be created by legislative bodies, resulting in statutes; by the executive through decrees and regulations; or by judges through precedent, as is common in jurisdictions with English common law. Private individuals can also create legal binding contracts. These include arbitration agreements that adopt alternative ways of resolving disputes to standard court litigation, as well as commercial laws such as contract law and property law.

Generally, laws exist to control a society and can be enforceable through various mechanisms including police and courts. They may cover a broad range of subjects such as censorship, crime and punishment, and public service provision (e.g. water and energy).

The principles of law are often influenced by culture and beliefs in a place and time. For example, tort laws provide compensation for people who have been harmed, whether through accidents like car crashes or defamation of character; whereas criminal law seeks to prevent wrongdoing by penalising those who break the rules. Other topics of law include administrative law, which governs how governments manage their departments; and constitutional law, which relates to the important rights encoded in the constitution of a country. Professionals who study and apply the law are called lawyers, jurists or attorneys.