What Is Law?

Law is the system of rules and principles that govern a society. It is made up of both written statutes and unwritten common law and custom. Law is enforced by the government, either directly or indirectly. It covers a wide range of subjects, such as contract, tort, property, and criminal laws. It is important that the law is understandable and accessible to all. It should also apply equally to all people regardless of wealth or social class.

Precedent – The decision of an earlier case with facts and issues similar to the case before a court. It normally governs the decision in a later case, unless there is compelling reason or significantly different facts and issues. Binding precedent is a prior decision that must be followed by a lower court without review. A court of appeals is usually bound by the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States.

The judge’s instructions to the jury about the law that applies to the case. A judge’s charge to a jury can significantly influence how a jury interprets the evidence and makes its decision in a trial.

The onlogical definition of law provided by Holmes provides a framework for understanding and describing law. He understood law to be a collective prediction of an expected outcome in a given situation. This probability estimate of the outcome is based on a person’s experience (broadly defined) as it intersects with an external reality that is shaped by others’ narratives.

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