What Is Law?

Law is the system of rules created by a government that form a framework to ensure a peaceful society. It also provides a means to solve disputes and protect liberties and rights. Law is a complex concept and people have many ideas about its nature. Some think that morality should be a part of law, while others believe it is separate from it.

The term law is most often used to refer to a set of formal legal regulations, but it can also be used to describe any powerful rule that must be obeyed or else sanctions will be imposed. Thus, parents’ house rules or a person’s instinctive reaction to save his life in an emergency could be described as law.

Roscoe Pound studied the concept and came up with this definition of law: “law is primarily a means of social control. Its primary function is to satisfy the social wants of the community.”

People have different ideas about what laws should be and how they should be enforced. Some, like John Austin, argued that the law should be “commands, backed by the threat of sanctions from a sovereign to whom the people have a habit of obedience.” This idea is known as utilitarian law theory and was dominant until the 20th century. Other philosophers, such as Jeremy Bentham and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, argued that the law should be based on natural, moral or unchanging principles. This concept is known as natural law theory and became popular in the 19th century.

The practice of law includes numerous disciplines and subfields. For example, labour law examines the tripartite industrial relationship between employer, worker and trade union and involves matters such as collective bargaining and the right to strike. Civil procedure and criminal procedure are concerned with the rules that judges must follow during a trial or appeals process. Evidence law is the study of which materials are admissible in court cases.

The law is an incredibly important part of our societies, but it is not without its problems. Changing the law can be difficult and the political landscape varies greatly from nation to nation, so it is not always easy for people to make their voices heard. However, many people are working to improve the law and the way that it is enforced. For example, the recent revolution in Myanmar, where the military regime detained the democratically elected Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, is an indication of the importance of law and the need for change.