What Is Law?


Law is the system of rules that a society develops to deal with crime, business agreements, and social relationships. It can also refer to the professions that deal with advising people about the law, representing them in court cases, and making decisions and punishments. Law is a big subject, and many people are interested in it.

There are several different kinds of laws: contract law, tort law, property law, and criminal law. Each deals with a different kind of issue. For example, tort law provides compensation when an individual or their property is harmed by another person’s actions. Contract law relates to the formation of legally binding contracts. Property law covers the acquisition, use, and transfer of ownership of property. Criminal law provides for the punishment of crimes such as murder, robbery, and fraud.

The main functions of law are establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes, and protecting liberties and rights. The ability of a nation to do these things is often dependent on who makes the laws and how they are enforced. It is common for revolutions to occur when existing political-legal systems fail in one or more of these areas.

A law can be a statute, an ordinance, or a decision made by a judge. The term “law” can also be used to mean a rule or principle that is indisputable, especially in science: the law of gravity, for example. A law can also be a set of rules or customs that govern a group of people: the laws of a religion, for instance.

There are various types of law, including tort, civil, criminal, constitutional, and international. A statute is a written law that a legislature passes. A constitution is a document that establishes the basic principles of a government. A constitution can also lay out the structure and functions of a national government.

An ordinance is a law enacted by a city or county. A regulation is a set of guidelines established by an agency such as the FDA. A case may be heard in a federal court, which has jurisdiction over matters involving the interpretation and application of the U.S. Constitution, acts of Congress, and treaties. A case is a dispute that is litigated before a fact finder, such as a judge or jury.

Evidence is a person’s testimony or documents presented in court to persuade the fact finder to decide for one side or the other in a case. Examples of evidence include witness testimony, physical objects, and written documents. Evidence is examined before trial by the lawyers for each side and entered into the record of the case. It is a very important part of a trial. If the evidence is not reliable or valid, it can be ruled inadmissible at trial. A jury is required in criminal trials, and a judge is required in civil or administrative proceedings. A judge can hear a case en banc, which means that the entire court is participating rather than just a quorum of judges.