What is Law?

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Law is a set of rules that regulates behavior in society. It can be made by a government or private individuals, and is enforceable through legal procedures.

Law can serve a variety of purposes: keeping the peace; maintaining status quo; protecting individual rights; promoting social justice; providing for orderly social change; or deterring terrorism and war. It may also be used to maintain and enforce the rights of minorities or political opponents, or to limit the power of the state.

Legal systems are based on concepts, categories and rules that largely derive from Roman law (with some influence of canon law) but have undergone human elaboration. Civil law systems are found worldwide, and are based on principles that promote cooperation between humans.

Theories of Law

One theory of law is that it is a neutral and unifying system governing interactions between people. Another is that it is a collection of rules and regulations designed to regulate social relationships, and a third is that it is a form of science. Several other theories of law exist, such as those based on custom and precedent.