What Is Law?

Law is the system of rules that a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members. It includes laws that deal with such issues as crime, business, social relationships, property and finance. The law is enforced by a controlling authority through penalties.

Legal philosophy reflects the different theories of law. For example, John Austin’s utilitarian theory of law defined it as “commands, backed by threat of sanction, from a sovereign to whom people have a habit of obedience”. Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Thomas Aquinas believed that laws were innate in human nature. Max Weber’s definition of law emphasized its function as coercive. Friedrich Karl von Savigny argued that the law is a result of custom and tradition.

Other types of law include constitutional law, which involves the interpretation of a constitution and the separation of powers between different branches of government; tort law, which deals with compensation for injury to person or property; labour law, which governs the tripartite industrial relationship between employer, worker and trade union; and administrative law, which relates to the rules that courts must follow as they conduct trials and hearings.

A scientific rule that someone has invented to explain a natural process, such as Newton’s law of motion, which states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. It is also a term for a general principle that society has decided should be followed, such as the Golden Rule or the Ten Commandments.

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