What Is Law?

Law is a system of rules that a society or government develops in order to deal with crime, business agreements and social relationships. It can also refer to the people who work in this system.

The Law serves four principal purposes: (1) keep the peace; (2) maintain the status quo; (3) preserve individual rights; (4) protect minorities against majorities; and (5) promote social justice. Some legal systems serve these purposes better than others, but all have a fundamental role in society.

Legal systems vary in their degree of formality, and how they are applied. They may be based on statutes (legislative law), policies, or precedents, which have a long-standing influence on how the courts decide cases.

In common law, a court ruling is recognized as “law” on equal footing with legislative and executive statutes. Judicial decisions set out reasoning that will guide future courts, and are known as “stare decisis.”

Civil procedure and criminal procedure govern the rules of evidence and how a trial and appeals proceed in a court. They determine which materials can be used as evidence in a case.

Property law defines people’s rights and duties toward tangible property, such as land, buildings, cars, and personal possessions. It also covers intangible property, such as bank accounts and stock.

Law is a complex, multifaceted field that informs every aspect of life. Oxford Reference provides more than 34,000 concise definitions and in-depth, specialist encyclopedia entries across this broad discipline, written by trusted experts for researchers at all levels.

Posted in: Gambling