The Basics of Law


Law refers to the system of rules a society develops in order to deal with crime, business agreements and social relationships. It also includes the people who enforce these rules. The most basic purpose of the law is to establish standards, but it can also serve other purposes: preserving order; resolving disputes; and protecting liberties and rights. The law should be publicized, stable and applied evenly. It should be enforceable by accessible, competent and ethical representatives and neutrals, who are adequately resourced and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve.

The legal systems of each country have a unique set of laws and procedures. They can differ in their underlying philosophy (such as whether justice should be administered according to the principles of morality, natural justice or the will of God), judicial structure and administrative mechanisms.

The main areas of law include contract, criminal and property law. Contract law regulates all agreements involving money or goods or services. Criminal law deals with crimes and their punishments. Property law explains people’s rights and duties toward their tangible property, which can be either real or personal.

Laws can be based on religious precepts such as the Islamic Sharia or the Jewish Halakha, or they may use more complex human elaborations and interpretations. They can also be based on scholarly theory, which serves as an inspiration to judges and other legal practitioners.

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