What Is Law?
Law is the body of rules that a community recognizes as binding upon its members, whether they are expressed in written laws, custom and practice, or in judicial decisions. Laws may also be referred to as natural or statutory, and a person who studies law is called a lawyer (lawyer, jurisprudence). The main functions of law are establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes, and protecting liberties and rights. The exact nature of the laws varies from nation to nation, but the basic elements include an authoritative source and an enforcer.
The discipline of law is broad, encompassing such areas as business and commerce; contracts; family, immigration, and employment law; intellectual property; civil rights; criminal and military law; and international law. There are also subfields of law relating to specific subjects, such as aviation law; banking law; maritime law; and insurance law.
Law has a direct effect on social and political life, with the major areas of influence being:
Legal system – A particular legal system is a defining feature of a nation, and influences politics, economics, history and society in general. The main functions of a national law are:
A legal system’s constitution sets out its fundamental principles and establishes the authority which governs it. It may also contain a charter of rights and freedoms which must be protected by the courts.
Rule of law – A guiding principle in a jurisdiction, the rule of law means that the decisions made by the judiciary must be based solely on evidence and legal reasoning, without regard to political or personal considerations. It is a common theory in most Western democracies, and was first elaborated by Jeremy Bentham in his philosophy of utilitarianism.
Legal process – A court proceeding through which a defendant is brought to trial and told of the charges against him. The procedure includes a preliminary hearing in which the judge decides bail. The court transcript is a word-for-word record of the proceedings and can be used to assist in later appeals.
Legal research – The study of law requires the application of both academic and practical skills. It requires both careful reading of the sources and a willingness to test theories. The use of technical jargon can make legal articles difficult to read and understand, but this can be overcome with the help of a good glossary. Using legal research resources online can provide useful information in a concise format. The most important aspect of writing a law article is the ability to communicate effectively with readers. The most effective approach is a holistic one, covering as many aspects of the subject as possible. This can include a brief introduction to the topic, followed by an outline of the issues involved, and then the discussion itself. This is a model which has been widely adopted by academic journals and websites. This allows the reader to engage with the topic at a deeper level and is a highly efficient way of exploring complex topics.