What Is Law?


Law is the system of rules that a society or government develops in order to deal with crime, business agreements and social relationships. It also refers to the people who work in this system.

The main purposes of law are to keep the peace, maintain the status quo, preserve individual rights, protect minorities against majorities, promote social justice and provide for orderly social change. Some legal systems serve these functions better than others.

A law is a set of rules that must be followed by all citizens. In some cases, violating a law can lead to jail time.

An important legal principle is the doctrine of stare decisis, which is Latin for “to stand by what is decided.” This means that court rulings are generally considered to be “law” on equal footing with other statutes or regulations enacted by the legislature or the executive branch.

Another common rule is that courts are required to follow previous decisions or rulings made by higher-level courts when making future decisions on similar issues. This can be a helpful way to ensure that legal procedures are consistent and fair throughout the nation.


The term “law” is most often used to describe a set of binding rules that are generally prescribed by an authority and impose responsibility on those who violate them. These rules can be found in many different forms, including laws of obligations, statutes, ordinances and canons.