What Is Law?


Law is the set of rules that a society accepts as binding upon its members, and which are enforced by mechanisms created by societal institutions. Societal viewpoints on the purpose of law vary, but typically include ideas such as order, rationality, justice, and morality.

Law encompasses many different fields of study and practice. The broadest area is the law as it relates to human rights and political systems, but other areas are specialised fields such as criminal law, family law, and transactional law. The field of law is also influenced by other disciplines, such as sociology, history, and philosophy.

A law article is a written legal document, often published in the form of a newspaper or journal, which serves as a source of information about legal matters and case studies. It is used as a tool by legal professionals for analysing and understanding complex and controversial legal concepts, and contributes to the development of law through legal precedents and judicial decisions.

In modern societies, law is generally overseen by a government or independent regulating body, such as a bar association, bar council or law society. The role of the lawyer in modern society is an important part of the legal system, and lawyers are held to high professional standards by their peers. They are usually required to have a distinct professional identity (such as a solicitor or barrister), and are authorised to practise law by a legal process such as completing the Bar course, successfully passing a bar exam, and being admitted to the legal profession.

The function of the law is to protect people against anarchy and a Hobbesian war of all against all, and to provide a framework for planning coordinated action over time. This requires a system of laws and regulations that can be understood and obeyed, and is reasonably stable so that people know the legal consequences of their actions in advance. It also requires the existence of a judicial system that can effectively enforce the law, and prevents governmental arbitrariness or tyranny.