What Is Law?


Law is a system of rules created and enforced by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. While there is some debate over the precise definition of law, most scholars agree that it consists of a set of principles that are used to determine what should be done or not done. Legal systems vary widely from nation to nation, but most have some similarities. For example, most places have laws against murder or theft. People who break these laws may be fined or put in jail. The term law is also used to describe the field of jurisprudence, which is the study of systems of law and how they work. The field of jurisprudence is divided into several different specialties, including tort law, constitutional law, and international law.

There are a number of different reasons why people study law. Some people do it to find jobs, while others do it for the sake of learning more about society and how it works. Some people even become lawyers and judges, which is a career that has many perks.

A person who studies law can learn about the rules that govern different nations and their cultures, as well as how those laws are created and changed. The laws of a country can affect how the citizens live, work, and play. The laws of a nation can also affect how the citizens are treated by their government. Some governments may be authoritarian, while others are democratic. The laws of a nation can serve many purposes, such as keeping the peace, maintaining the status quo, protecting minority rights against majorities, preserving personal freedoms, and providing for orderly social change.

Laws are usually based on a body of empirical evidence and the observations of many scientists in that area. A scientific law describes an indisputable fact about the world and the forces that are in it, such as Newton’s Law of Gravity or Mendel’s Law of Independent Assortment. Scientific laws are based on a large body of empirical data that is accepted by scientists and helps unify the body of research.

A legal power is a first-order norm that determines what right-holders ought to do (claim-rights) or can do (privilege-rights). In law, it also refers to the capacity of legal subjects to change or create legal positions, relations, and norms. There are two primary legal mechanisms for the creation of (valid) legal powers: direct bestowment and the recognition of certain actions as inherently constituting a right by the law. Direct bestowment of a claim-right occurs by legislative or judicial action, while the recognition of a right is typically through unilateral or mutual actions such as gifts, forfeitures, consents, appointments, and last will and testaments. (Lyons 1970; Sumner 1987: 28-29). Rights that are actively exercised are called active powers, and those that are passively enjoyed are referred to as immunities. The concept of a right is a fundamental one in all societies. This is because the notion of a right is central to determining what it means to be a citizen.