Law is the system of rules that people follow to ensure that they are not infringing another person’s rights or causing them harm. The laws are made by a government, which citizens must follow or face punishment for breaking the law.
There are three main areas of law: civil law, criminal law and commercial law. Each area deals with a different aspect of human behaviour and can be very wide-ranging.
Civil law refers to the rules that govern relationships between individuals and their communities, including legal obligations, such as marriage or employment. It can be based on codifications in constitutions and statutes, custom and precedent (judges’ decisions).
Criminal law refers to the rules that govern behavior that violates the laws of a nation or community. This includes crimes that are punishable by jail or a fine.
Commercial law is a complex set of regulations around the creation, operation and dissolution of business. It can involve everything from setting up a company to dealing with taxation or advertising.
Property law is a branch of civil law that concerns the ownership and possession of real property, such as land, and personal property, such as cars or jewellery. It also covers land registration, mortgages and leases, and regulation of trade and commerce.
There are many professions that deal with the law, including lawyers and judges. These professionals are regulated by a professional body such as a bar association, bar council or law society. These professionals are required to have a specific qualification and a degree in law before they can practice.