What Is Law?

Law is a system of rules created by the state to ensure order and safety in society. It also defines and punishes crimes and protects people’s rights. People who advise others about the law, defend them in court or give decisions and punishments are called lawyers. Law is a broad subject that can be broken down into many sub-disciplines.

The main categories are:

Civil law (also called continental law) deals with how people can marry and what property they own. Common law countries use judges to decide legal disputes. Both systems have different methods of interpreting the law.

Labour law involves the tripartite relationship between worker, employer and trade unions and covers issues such as minimum wages and workers’ rights. Criminal law is the branch of justice that prosecutes people who commit offences. Administrative law relates to how governments and organisations operate, including issues such as taxation and workplace regulation. Space law addresses the international aspects of human activity in outer space, whereas banking law concerns rules about capital and investment.

Judges interpret the law using various rules of interpretation such as textualism, originalism and a policy-oriented approach known as case law. This method of interpreting the law tries to ensure that new cases do not contradict earlier ones by deriving principles from previous decisions on similar circumstances. In addition, it is important to understand the broader context of the case. This helps judges to make more reasoned judgments.

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