Law is a study of the system of rules in a community. It provides the basis for the conduct of people and ensures that property rights are protected. Various legal systems are used in different countries.
Law can be a source of orderly social change, but it can also be a source of oppression. An authoritarian government can enact laws that suppress minority rights.
The concept of law originated in ancient Greece. Jean-Jacques Rousseau described it as a moral rule of nature. Today, law is an important aspect of society.
In America, it is a critical part of the system of government. Individuals and groups are held accountable for violating the law. Breaking the law can lead to imprisonment.
Laws are created by governments, individual legislators, and executive officials. They are typically publicly promulgated and enforceable.
Laws can be made by an executive through a decree or by a group legislature. Some common legal systems include civil law, administrative law, and criminal law.
Legal systems vary in their length and complexity. Civil law is less complex and shorter. Lawyers working in these systems have to have special qualifications.
Laws are primarily drafted by the legislature, but judicial decisions are often accepted as law. This doctrine of precedent means that decisions by a higher court bind lower courts.
Criminal law revolves around governmental prosecution of criminals. Other forms of law include family law, immigration law, and nationality law. These policies concern rights of foreigners to live and work in a nation-state.