Law is a set of rules created by the state that form a framework to ensure a peaceful society. When these laws are broken or breached sanctions can be imposed. This is not an easy task, as different legal systems have their own ideas and definitions of what constitutes law. Numerous books containing various ideas about and definitions of law have been written, but the general consensus is that law is a set of rules created by the State to ensure peace and order in society.
There are many areas of law – contracts, property, criminal, torts and more. Each area covers a specific area of life and society. For example, contract law regulates agreements between individuals and businesses for the exchange of goods or services, while property law defines people’s rights and duties toward tangible property such as land and buildings and intangible property such as stocks and bonds. Criminal law governs the behavior of individuals who commit crimes such as murder and robbery, and torts cover actions that damage or harm other people.
The legal system of a country is comprised of all the policies, procedures, and structures that define the rights and obligations of citizens. A country’s legal system is made up of a variety of components, including a constitution, which sets out the basic principles of a nation’s governance, and a court system that decides cases brought before it. The structure of a country’s legal system influences its government, its people and its culture.
The concept of what constitutes law is continually changing as people and societies evolve. One recent development has been the rise of international law, which is a body of treaties, agreements and codes that have been signed by states to regulate a wide range of issues. These include human rights, disarmament and environmental protection.
While it may be difficult to give a precise definition of law, most agree that it is a dynamic process in which an individual makes a rational decision based on her experience (broadly defined to include first hand experiences and stories learned). As this experience flows, she adjusts her probability estimates, and this adjusting forms the basis for her understanding of and choice between alternatives.
A good place to start when learning about law is with a dictionary, especially if you’re not sure of the meaning of some terms. Some of the most common legal terms include: