Law is the system of rules that governs a society. It ensures social order and justice, and protects human rights. It includes legal systems and the institutions that enforce them, including courts of law.
Laws can be applied to everyone, or they can only apply to people in certain situations. The law also has different functions, such as regulating business activities.
Professionals who specialize in legal work include lawyers, judges and paralegals. They often have a special qualification such as a bachelor of law or a doctor of laws degree.
Lawyers are regulated by a body of law, such as the Bar Association or Bar Council. Some practice areas are specialized, such as family law, criminal law or intellectual property law.
Judges are government officials who have authority to decide lawsuits brought before them. They are called justices in the United States and judicial officers in other countries.
The term “law” is often used to refer to any type of legal system or set of rules that a community recognizes as governing the actions of its members. It includes a number of related topics, such as constitutional law, administrative law and international law.
Legal interpretation starts from certain input – namely, certain texts and practices, actions and mental states of certain legal actors, and customs. It yields an output – “an interpretation.” The familiar debate about how to get from the input to the output, and what the output is supposed to be, is a central one in legal theory.