What Is Law?

Law is the system of rules and regulations that are set up by a society to control the behaviour of people within that society. These laws can be state enforced or privately created. State-enforced laws may be made by collective legislatures, resulting in statutes, decrees or regulations, or they may be established through precedent, normally in common law jurisdictions. Privately created laws are often enforceable through contractual or arbitration agreements. Law can be classified in a number of different ways, for example contract law covers all agreements between individuals to exchange goods or services, property law defines people’s rights and duties towards tangible property, such as land or buildings, while family law includes marriage and divorce proceedings.


The concept of law is an area of intense controversy, particularly because it is a social construct. Many theorists argue that a key purpose of the law is to provide a framework for justice, which can be either distributive or corrective. Distributive justice aims to ensure that all members of a community are treated fairly, while corrective justice seeks to redress injustice.


In addition to its role in providing justice, the law also acts as a standard for acceptable behaviour. This is because the law lays down the minimum standards that must be observed in a civilised society (for example, the criminal offence of assault). The law also imposes certain restrictions on a person’s behaviour (for instance, it is illegal to possess firearms).

It is important to remember that although the aim of the law is to guarantee justice, it can sometimes do more harm than good. This is because the law can be used by vested interests to promote their own interests at the expense of others. For example, a company can use the law to protect its profits by exploiting workers. It can also be used to censor free speech.

Despite the many problems associated with the concept of law, there are some advantages to a career in the legal profession. For example, lawyers earn a lot of money, which can lead to them becoming rich. In addition, they have the respect of society, as they are known to be intelligent and hardworking individuals. Many large firms offer excellent training and mentoring programs for new recruits, so a law student can have a lot of opportunities to succeed in the field. Also, a career in the legal field provides a great deal of flexibility, as employees are allowed to choose their own hours. This is a great benefit for those with young families.

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