What Is Law?
Law is a set of rules created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It is a complex subject with its precise definition often disputed. It may be formulated through collective legislature, resulting in statutes or decrees, by the executive via regulations and directives or by judges based on precedent – known as common law – in some jurisdictions. Law may be either public or private and it can regulate property, intellectual or commercial activities.
The primary goals of law are to maintain order, resolve conflicts, protect liberties and rights and punish wrongdoers. In addition, laws help to ensure that people are treated fairly and with respect regardless of their status or wealth.
Legal systems can be divided into civil and criminal law. Civil law relates to disputes between individuals and covers fields such as torts (damages caused by an accident, breach of contract or defamation), family law, and contracts. Criminal law, on the other hand, relates to crimes committed against a state or its citizens.
The concept of the rule of law encompasses laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated. It also requires measures to ensure adherence to principles of supremacy of the law, equality before the law, accountability for the law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making and legal transparency.