The Study of Law

Law is a system of rules that governs human relationships. It affects politics, economics, history and society in countless ways. The study of law is a profound and often complex undertaking.

A law is any strong rule made by an authority that must be followed. Laws can be created and enforced by government, but they also can be imposed by private entities (corporations, organizations, associations) or individuals. A person who follows laws that protect their rights may be called a law-abiding citizen, while someone who breaks the rules and is punished by the state is considered a criminal.

Some laws, such as those protecting privacy and property, are designed to prevent harmful behavior. Others, such as those protecting health and safety, are intended to promote good behavior. Still others are designed to help people find a way to solve disputes. Laws that deal with conflicts between people are called civil law, while those dealing with crimes and offenses against a community or the natural environment are known as criminal law.

A major function of any legal system is to maintain order and preserve the social status quo. However, some legal systems fulfill this function better than others. For example, an authoritarian government can keep the peace and maintain the status quo, but it may oppress minorities or political opponents. In addition, a nation that depends on colonialism may have a complex legacy of conflicting laws and cultures.

In general, law is made by a legislature, which is the branch of government that passes legislation and oversees the execution of the laws. In addition, a judiciary is the branch of government that adjudicates disputes and enforces the laws.

Many laws are based on religious precepts, such as the Jewish Halakha and Islamic Sharia. These religious laws act as a starting point for further law, which is elaborated through interpretation, Qiyas (reasoning by analogy), Ijma (consensus) and precedent.

Other laws are based on scientific or technical developments, such as competition law, which is intended to control businesses that collude to drive prices up for the benefit of their own shareholders. Another important field of law is family law, which covers issues such as divorce proceedings and the rights of children.

A person who studies law is called a jurist or lawyer, and the legal profession includes judges and attorneys. A judge or attorney who is an expert in a particular area of law is known as a specialist. These experts often write articles and books about their subject. These articles may comment on recent legal changes or take a stand on controversial aspects of the law. However, the language in these articles tends to be more technical and assumes that readers have some prior knowledge of the subject. They may also contain footnotes to clarify the meaning of specific terms and references.