The Basics of Law


Law is a system of rules that a society creates and enforces to regulate behavior. It may be used for moral, economic, social or political purposes. Law is usually enforced by the state, although it may be applied at a local or corporate level, as well. Some legal systems are more stable and effective than others.

In some legal systems, judges and barristers decide cases based on their own interpretation of the law and their own sense of justice. In other legal systems, such as common law and most civil law, statutes and regulations are written by legislatures and enforceable by courts. In these systems, decisions by courts, known as precedent or stare decisis, bind lower courts in future cases of the same type.

The study of law is often divided into the disciplines of jurisprudence, philosophy of law and ethics. Jurisprudence is the study of laws and how they are made, while philosophy of law examines the nature of law itself. Ethics are the principles that govern a society and its institutions, such as the sanctity of life, equality before the law and the duties of citizens.

A law is a statement of an indisputable fact about the world and its forces. It could be proven or hypothetical, sanctioned or unsanctified, mythical or real, harmonious or antagonistic, but it would still be a law because it describes a consistent reality. For example, the law of gravity states that anything thrown up in space will fall to Earth.

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