What Is Law?


Law is the system of rules and procedures established and enforced by a government or other authoritative body to regulate and settle disputes, protect human rights, provide justice, and govern society. Law also includes the professions which advise and represent people about the law, defend their rights in court, or give decisions and punishments.

In modern societies, most laws are made and enforced by a combination of legislative and judiciary bodies. This is often called a constitutional democracy. The precise nature of the law varies from nation to nation. In some cases, a government’s political structure determines its legal landscape; in other instances, societal norms and beliefs shape it.

The societal view of the law holds that laws are rules which society (or a represented majority) accept as necessary for the proper functioning of the social order. A variety of theories of the law exist to explain this, with some focusing on how laws reflect moral principles and societal values.

Other theories of the law focus on how laws are naturally occurring, arising from commonalities and norms that individuals share. For example, natural law theorists argue that certain principles of morality are universal and therefore must be recognized as law.

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