What Is Law?


Law is the system of rules a government or society develops to deal with crime and other social issues. It is enforced by a controlling authority through penalties. There are many types of laws and they can be broadly grouped into three categories: public, private and corporate. Examples of public law are employment, criminal and environmental law. Private law includes family, civil and property law. The corporate world has laws governing businesses, mergers and acquisitions.

Laws protect individual rights, provide a fair and stable economy, and ensure a safe society. They also regulate the actions of governments, public officials and private individuals. Different societies use different systems of law. Some, such as the United States, have a common law system, which relies on decisions of judges rather than on statutes, and is enforced by courts. Other countries, such as Japan, have a civil law system, which uses codes that clearly specify the legal rules for judges to follow in their decisions.

Some lawyers specialise in one particular area of law. For example, employment lawyers study the tripartite industrial relationship between worker, employer and trade unions and deal with issues such as health and safety and wages. Family law involves the rights of married couples and those who are separated, such as child custody and alimony. Criminal law covers issues such as the definition of a crime, the right to trial and the rules for the admissibility of evidence in court cases.