What Is Law?

Law is a system of rules that governs the behavior of members of a society or country. It may be enforced by police, courts or other governmental agencies. It consists of many different areas of study, including contract law, constitutional law, criminal law, family law, land law and property law. The study of law also includes the practice of law and legal ethics.

A law may be a constitution, a set of rules or an agreement. It can also refer to a particular type of action, such as a contract, an order or a judgment. It can also be a set of guidelines, such as the United Nations Charter or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Some of the purposes of a law are to establish standards, maintain order, resolve disputes and protect liberties and rights. A society with a law can be safe and stable, but there are many debates about what a law should be. Some people say that the purpose of a law is to keep the status quo, while others argue that it should protect minorities and promote social change.

It is difficult to give a precise definition of a law, because each culture has different laws and the laws vary by time and place. There are many books and discussions about what a law is, but the most common idea is that a law is an agreed upon system of rules that sets out what people must do. A law is enforced by a government, and if it is broken there are penalties.

The law is often written, but there are many areas of law that are unwritten and oral. People tend to trust the ideas in their culture that are based on traditions and customs, and they may also trust judicial decisions.

Law is studied at universities and colleges, and people who study law are known as lawyers or jurists. Lawyers are professional people who can help with legal issues and solve problems. They can be transactional lawyers who write contracts or litigators who go to court. They can be generalists or specialists in areas like tax law, labour law, or medical jurisprudence.

Oxford Reference provides more than 34,000 concise definitions and in-depth, specialist encyclopedic entries on the law. It covers everything from criminal, civil and administrative law to the law of nations and international relations. It includes major issues in the theory of law as well as case studies and debates. It is available in print and online. It is updated annually. This resource is a must-have for researchers at all levels.