What Is Law?


Law is a system of rules created and enforced by government or social institutions. It has many purposes, but four principal ones are establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes, and protecting liberties and rights. Laws are based on various ideas, but they usually describe direct links between cause and effect.

Blackstone defined the common law as “a set of principles, or rules, laid down for the guidance of judges and juries in their decisions in cases brought before them for determination.” The common law emphasized the importance of precedents. He also emphasized that the law should be written and clear. In addition, he emphasized that the law should be stable, uniform as to time, and universal in its application.

The neo-realist school of law studies the real workings of laws, how they are actually implemented and enforced. It is a reaction against the dominant moralizing orientation of sociological jurisprudence.

Some laws are imposed by political or social authorities to regulate behavior. Those are called legislative or delegated laws. The most common legislative laws are statutes, which are passed by legislatures or other governing bodies and enacted into law by constitutional or legislative process.

Other laws are enacted by courts or tribunals. The most common tribunals are courts of appeal and the supreme court of the country or region in which the case is heard. Judges or arbitrators in these courts are called justices and they decide legal cases based on evidence presented by parties in the form of testimony and documents.

Most of the world’s governments are governed by a mixture of legislative and court-based legal systems. Civil law systems, which are derived from Roman law and canon law and are found on all continents, make up about 60% of the world’s legal systems. The remaining 40% is populated by states that follow different traditions, including common law.

The purpose of the law is to protect human rights, promote economic growth, and foster peace. It does this by ensuring that all public and private actors are accountable under laws that are publicly promulgated, consistently applied and independently adjudicated. The rule of law requires measures that ensure adherence to international human rights standards and norms.

The rule of law is the principle that all individuals and entities, both domestic and foreign, are subject to laws that are clear, publicly published, stable, consistently applied, and independent of political control or influence. It also requires adherence to the principles of supremacy of law, equality before the law and in its administration, independence of the judiciary, participation in the law-making process, legal certainty, and non-discrimination. The rule of law is also a prerequisite for democracy. Without it, democracies can fail to perform their basic functions of regulating the economy and promoting peace. They can also become a breeding ground for corruption and authoritarian tendencies. This is why democratic nations have a vested interest in preserving the rule of law. A failure to do so is likely to result in instability and possibly even a revolution.