What Is Law?


Law is a set of rules that are enforced by social or governmental institutions to control behavior and establish rights and responsibilities. It shapes politics, economics and history in a variety of ways and serves as a mediator of relationships among people. Law is a broad subject that encompasses many disciplines, from the study of specific legal systems to the analysis of how laws work and what role they play in society. The study of law also includes the practice of defending or advancing one’s rights and obtaining justice.

Law encompasses many specific areas of the judicial system, such as contract law, criminal law, property law and tax law. International law addresses legal matters between nations and with other countries, and may deal with issues such as diplomatic protection, territorial sovereignty and the resolution of disputes. Space law is a relatively new area of the field that deals with the rights and responsibilities of people in outer space.

The practice of law involves many different types of writing, from research insights and case studies to legal articles and even books. Law firm writing tends to focus on educating potential clients about the law and explaining how it applies to their unique situation. These pieces can range from a simple FAQ to more formal articles with footnotes and arguments. They can also address current legal trends and changes in the law.

A basic tenet of law is that the people in a nation-state (or other political entity) have the power to make and enforce laws. However, this is a complex task that can be challenged by revolutions and revolts. In some cases, the political-legal system fails to accomplish its main functions, which include preserving individual rights, maintaining social order, promoting justice and facilitating peaceful, ordered change.

A country’s laws are shaped by the political structure and culture of its people, and can be influenced by religious beliefs or customs. The law is most effective when it is transparent, well-publicized and stable, and applies to all citizens equally. It should provide protection of property, contracts and freedom from discrimination; it should also ensure that crime is punished and that the judicial system is fair and efficient.