What Is Law?

Written by adminss on April 15, 2024 in Gambling News with no comments.


Law is the system of rules and regulations that a particular community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members. It encompasses a wide range of topics from criminal and civil law to taxation, family and international law. The term is also used to describe the process of establishing and applying the law, as well as the legal profession. The study of law is often entangled with debates about the philosophy of life and the role of government.

It is difficult to give a precise definition of law as each community has its own unique legal systems and different views on what it should contain. However, it has generally been agreed that the law is a set of rules created by the state which forms a framework for ensuring a peaceful society and can be enforced with sanctions imposed if they are broken or breached. For example, obscene or threatening phone calls are against the law and may lead to prosecution.

A number of theories have been developed about the origins of law. Friedrich Karl von Savigny suggested that custom is the supreme source of law, and that laws should be based on the ‘Volkgeist’ or common consciousness of the people. Hans Kelsen, on the other hand, argued for a ‘pure theory of law’, in which the law is simply a description of the way things must be, rather than something that must be obeyed.

The main functions of the law are defining standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes and protecting liberties and rights. Civil law deals with conflicts between individuals, for example, claims for compensation following an automobile accident or defamation of character. Offences against a person’s country, community or the public are dealt with by criminal law. In addition, the law provides for the administration of justice by governing judicial processes and regulating the legal training of judges and other lawyers.

Throughout history the law has been influenced by social and economic changes, and has responded to new technological developments. Today, it incorporates elements that are ancient – such as the courts inherited from the coroners’ law – and elements that are quite modern – such as a judge using a laptop computer to review a case.

The law is an essential part of the fabric of any society and its continued existence depends on a complex web of interconnected and evolving laws. Oxford Reference has a comprehensive collection of concise definitions and in-depth, specialist encyclopedic entries covering all aspects of the law. It can be accessed online or in print and is recommended for researchers at all levels. For more information, see also Oxford Reference’s collections on Constitution; Legal Philosophy; Criminal Law; and Business Law.

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