The Basics of Law

Law is a body of rules that governs the conduct of a society. These rules are enforced by a controlling authority through penalties. There are many different types of laws. Some examples are laws that regulate business, laws that govern the environment and laws that protect people’s rights. People who study the law may specialize in one or more areas of the field. People who work as lawyers or judges study the law in order to help others defend their rights and secure justice.

Laws are found in all societies, from the most primitive to the most advanced. There are different theories of the nature of law, and differing schools of legal philosophy. Some believe that the main purpose of the law is to serve social wants, such as preserving stability, maintaining status quo, protecting minority rights and providing for ordered social change. Other scholars, such as Roscoe Pound, argue that the main function of law is coercive, and that laws are mainly used to control society.

The law is composed of various parts, each governing a specific area of activity. First there are statutes, or duly enacted laws, which are passed by legislature (legislators) and then enforced by the executive branch of government. There are also regulations, or rules put forth by a regulatory agency and then enforced by the courts. Finally, there are court decisions, or judicial rulings that make new laws, or modify old ones.

Articles of law can be found in a variety of legal documents, such as a contract, a statute or a code. Each article has a particular meaning and can be interpreted in different ways. For example, the term “article” in a contract refers to a particular part of the contract that sets out terms such as duties, expectations, responsibilities and damages in case of breach.

Other articles of law include the Constitution of a country, which describes how a country is structured and operates and its supreme authority. Then there is criminal law, which deals with the punishment for a crime. Civil law deals with the procedure of a trial or hearing, and evidence law defines which materials are admissible to a court. Family law includes the rights of spouses, children and property in case of divorce or separation. Property law concerns real property, movable property and intellectual property. Other fields of law are administrative law, bankruptcy, aviation and shipping laws.

Some law is inflexible, as with the constitution or canon law. However, there are also a number of areas of the law that are subject to individual interpretation. This can be due to the fact that some of these laws are not based on the written word but on tradition, or because they are shaped by the power of the rulers who create them. For instance, tyrants such as Hitler or Saddam Hussein create arbitrary laws that, even though they may be bad, are still followed because the sovereign has the power to enforce them.