The Nature of Law

The Nature of Law

In a society, laws are created to ensure that people do what is expected of them and avoid harming others. This is achieved by creating rules that must be obeyed and putting penalties into place if they are broken. There are many goals that laws achieve, including keeping the peace and ensuring everyone has what they need to live. Laws are also used to protect property, ensure people are not discriminated against and to punish offenders. They are also used to enforce contracts and regulate industries such as banking, water and energy.

In addition, the legal system also deals with problems that arise between people, such as deciding who owns property or how to resolve disagreements. This is known as civil law. It covers a variety of topics, such as divorce and custody of children. Another important area of civil law is intellectual property, which includes patents and copyrights. Civil law is a major part of the modern legal system, and it is used in countries around the world.

The legal system is also responsible for enforcing a nation’s borders and laws against terrorism and drug smuggling. It is therefore very important to the world’s economy and security. In addition, the law also ensures that public officials and police are held to high standards when they perform their duties.

A person who is legally qualified is referred to as a lawyer, judge or magistrate. There are also many different fields of law, from family to constitutional law. Some of these areas are governed by separate systems, such as Islamic law and Jewish law. Others are governed by a combination of secular and religious law, such as Indian and Chinese law.

Some philosophers have questioned the nature of law, particularly as it is applied by governments. For example, some argue that a tyrant may issue bad laws, but they are still followed because of the power wielded by the sovereign. Others believe that morality is a factor in the creation and enforcement of laws.

Laws can be created by a group legislature, resulting in statutes; by the executive through decrees and regulations; or by judges through precedent. Private individuals can also create legally binding contracts, which are alternative ways of resolving disputes to standard court litigation.

In common law jurisdictions, judicial decisions are considered to be law on an equal footing with legislative statutes and executive regulations. In other systems, the law is more rigid, and higher courts’ decisions bind lower ones to assure consistency in legal rulings. See law, philosophy of for a discussion of philosophical issues about the nature of law. Also see criminal law; family law; intellectual property; and tort. Articles that examine the relationship between law and government are constitution; civil rights; democracy; dyadic; and government. See also law, social; law and economics; and law and religion. See the articles listed below for a more detailed list of specific laws. Articles that discuss the effects of law on other parts of life are crime and punishment; censorship; and war.