What Is Law?


Law is the body of rules governing the conduct and activities of people. These rules are enforced through a central authority, such as a judge or a court. For example, a judge may rule that it is against the law to eavesdrop on a conversation. The rules may also regulate the activities of the people themselves, such as how much money a person can earn or where they can work. The word law can also refer to a profession that consists of people who advise others about legal issues or represent them in court.

There are two types of laws: natural and positive. Natural law is the objective legal order prescribed by the Creator and revealed in nature and Scripture. Blackstone argued that judges are the depositories of the law and “the living oracles, who must decide in all cases of doubt; if their determination be clearly contrary to reason, much more so to divine law, they will not be followed in any subsequent case.”

Positive or positive law is made by governments and other organizations with power over individuals and communities. This is the kind of law that imposes stricter rules than the natural law, for example, laws on homicide or fraud. These are also known as criminal or civil laws. Positive laws also include contracts and property rights. The laws of a nation are influenced by the social conditions and aspirations of the people who inhabit it.

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