What Is a Law?


A law is a set of rules that a society sets up to keep order. They are enforced by a central authority and people who break them can be punished. Laws are intended to protect the liberty and rights of all citizens regardless of their wealth or social class. They are also meant to ensure a safe, stable society and discourage violence.

The law has many purposes, but four principal ones are establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes and protecting liberties and rights. It is important that the law be clear and concise so that it is easy for people to understand. It is equally important that the law be enforced fairly so that all citizens have the same chance to be protected and to receive justice. It is not always easy to define what a law is because different legal systems have their own definitions and ideas about the nature of laws.

For example, some philosophers think that a law is a command backed by the threat of punishment from an authority to which people have a habit of obedience and others, like John Austin, believe that laws reflect a certain morality or that they are based on natural processes that are unchanging. Others, like Jean-Jacques Rousseau believe that a law is a code of conduct and that it is an intrinsic part of human nature.

Some lawyers specialize in a particular area of law, such as employment or property. Other lawyers practice general law. Law is a huge and varied subject that is constantly changing. Changes in economic and social policies mean that laws have to be updated and changed. The development of computers has opened up new areas of law such as internet and privacy laws. Other changes in society have brought about new forms of discrimination that need to be dealt with by the courts and legislation.

The study of law can be very rewarding and challenging. It requires a lot of reading and research. Those who work in the field of law are often very intelligent and have high salary potential, so it is an attractive career choice for many people. Whether it is studying for a law degree or working in the field of law, there are always plenty of opportunities available to those who are interested in this fascinating subject. It is a subject that will continue to shape the world we live in for years to come. We hope you find this article on Law useful. Please share with others. Thank you. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2010 (c)2010. All rights reserved.