Law is a system of rules enforced through social or governmental institutions to ensure that individuals and a community adhere to a certain set of values. These may be moral or ethical, religious, or based on the perceived will of a god. The laws of a nation or state are typically a combination of legislation passed by a legislature, decrees made by an executive and regulations created by courts through precedent. These laws govern all aspects of a country’s life, including civil rights and the criminal justice system.
A large amount of information about law exists and many books have been written on the topic. It is difficult to give a definitive definition of Law, however, because laws vary across legal systems and between individuals. A common theme emerging from these books and debates, however, is that the Law is a set of rules created by a government that forms a framework to ensure a peaceful society. If these rules are broken then sanctions can be imposed.
The term Law encompasses a large number of subjects, which are divided into numerous different areas, such as contract law, property law, tax law, and space law. In addition, there are several specialised fields of law, such as terrorism law and environmental law.
Contract law is an area of law that deals with the various forms of agreements between people or businesses. This includes everything from a simple purchase of a car to an employment contract. Property law covers a person’s right to ownership and use of tangible goods, such as land or buildings, as well as intangible assets like bank accounts or shares.
Terrorism law is a specialised field that deals with the laws that are in place to protect citizens from acts of terror. Terrorism cases are usually heard in special courts that are separate from a country’s regular court system, although they may share some of the same judges and courtrooms.
The rule of Law is a concept that requires the adherence to a set of principles, including supremacy of law, equality before the law, accountability to the law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty and avoidance of arbitrariness. The principle of the rule of Law is a cornerstone of international law and human rights. The United Nations has developed a Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that all individuals are entitled to the highest standard of human rights, regardless of their origin, wealth or social status. This document also provides an international bill of rights, which contains a list of individual rights that should be guaranteed by all governments. The Declaration also recognises that the observance of these rights is a prerequisite for peace. The UN also has a Commission on Human Rights that is responsible for monitoring the observance of these standards by all countries. The Commission is composed of delegates from all member nations. The United States is a member of both the Commission on Human Rights and the UN.