What Is Law?

Law is the system of rules created by a government that provides the framework to ensure a peaceful society. It is enforced by mechanisms that allow sanctions to be imposed for those who do not follow the rules. It also defines core human, procedural and property rights that people must respect. It influences politics, economics, history and society in many ways.

The term is also used to refer to the legal profession, including all lawyers and paralegals, as well as those who are not practicing law but who teach law at a university or work for a government agency. Lawyers can use the title Esquire or Doctor of Law. Others who have a background in a legal field often choose to use a descriptive name such as Barrister or Queen’s Counsel (in England and Wales).

Any set of rules prescribed by a government and applied to its citizens is law, whether written in a statute or simply codified by custom and policy that has been recognised and enforced by judicial decision. The term can also refer to the body of laws concerned with a particular subject, or derived from a specific source: commercial law, constitutional law, labour law, aviation law, family law, criminal law, land law, and tax law. It can also refer to a system of law that is based on principles rather than formal rules: natural law, divine law or Islamic law.

Laws can be created at the local, state, national or international level. Many of these laws interact with each other, and a complex web of regulations can develop. For example, contract law governs agreements that exchange goods or services for money and includes everything from buying a bus ticket to trading options on the derivatives market. Property law defines the rights and duties toward tangible property, which is movable or immovable, such as land and buildings; personal property, such as clothes, books or cars; and intangible property, such as intellectual property, company or trust property.

The police are a part of the law enforcement community, which works to preserve the law and keep peace. People can be prosecuted for a crime committed in violation of the law, or they may be fined for violating community norms. Some people are a law unto themselves, following their own inclinations or rules of conduct without regard for established mores or the law. Others have a sense of law and order that is reflected in their morals, ethics and religious beliefs. Some even have a code of honour, which they abide by at all times. The law is an important part of our daily lives, but it can be a complicated topic to discuss because each individual has different ideas about what the law should be. For this reason, there are many debates and books containing various opinions about the law and how it should be created, enforced and changed.