What Is Law?

Law is a system of rules that governs the behavior and activities of a community and is enforced by a controlling authority. It has four main purposes: establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes and protecting liberties and rights.

There are many different kinds of laws, including criminal law, civil law, constitutional law, and administrative law. Each of these has a slightly different focus and purpose. For example, criminal law deals with the punishment of people who commit crimes, while constitutional law is concerned with the rights and responsibilities that citizens enjoy as members of the society. Administrative law, on the other hand, deals with how a government runs its operations and makes decisions.

To understand what a law means, you need to know how it is created and used. The legal system has many components, including statutes, case law, and the rules of procedure. Statutes are legislative laws that a government creates to govern specific situations, such as setting forth the rights of a worker in an employment situation. Case law is the collection of judicial decisions that explain how other laws should be applied to particular cases.

The rules of procedure dictate how a court must conduct trials and hearings, and they also set forth what evidence a judge can consider when making decisions. When doing legal research, it is important to read the statutes, case law, and rules of procedure carefully so that you have a full understanding of how the law applies to your specific situation.

When reading a statute, it is important to understand the meaning of all of the words and punctuation that are used. It is also helpful to use a dictionary when looking up any words that you do not understand. Also, it is helpful to read the entire statute in order to ensure that it makes sense and does not lead to an absurd or improbable result.

Generally speaking, states make the law in most areas of life, including family law, divorce, landlord-tenant, small business, personal injury, and wills and trusts. The federal government makes the law in a few specific areas, such as copyrights, patents, bankruptcy, and Social Security. In addition to statutes, there are other sources of legal information, such as the case law of various courts, which is often referred to as headnotes. These are brief entries in a court case that summarize the key legal points and help researchers find other similar cases. These are typically available in legal databases.