What Is Law?


Generally speaking, law is the system of rules and regulations enforceable by social institutions, usually governmental institutions. This system shapes society, economics and politics. It serves to protect individual rights against majorities and provides orderly social change. It is also an important part of the system of governance in America.

There are many kinds of laws. These include regulations, agreements, bills, contracts and judicial decisions. These laws may be created by the government or private individuals. Often, these laws are arranged by subject matter in the United States Code or the Code of Federal Regulations. There are also compilations of laws that are collections of individual acts in current, amended form. These are available at the Administrative Office of the U.S. Government and Lexis/Nexis’ Shepard’s Citations. These are online services that are easily updated to reflect changes in the law.

Laws can be divided into three categories: common law, civil law and state-enforced. There are also differences in the processes that lead to the creation of laws.

Laws are typically regulated by the executive branch. This includes the president, who can sign or veto a law. Other governing bodies can also create a law without the president’s signature. These can be legislative statutes or decrees. In the United States, these can be passed by both houses of Congress.

The laws regulating an industry are known as regulations. Examples of these are energy, telecomms and water. These are regulated industries in most OECD countries. There are also laws regarding business and investment. The law governing a company can be found in the United States Uniform Commercial Code. These laws are designed to control businesses that dilution market prices. They also regulate business practices that are unfair contractual terms.

Some legal systems are more detailed than others. A civil law system is less detailed than a common law system. The Quran acts as a source of further law through reasoning by analogy and consensus. However, some legal systems do not explicitly acknowledge that courts make decisions as “law.”

Laws are enacted by a group legislature or by the executive. For example, the Joint Stock Companies Act 1856 provided a separate legal personality for a corporation. This was later replaced by the Securities Act. The Securities Act allowed investors to be protected under a limited liability system.

The doctrine of precedent means that a court decision binds future decisions. The United States Code, for example, is arranged by subject matter in 50 titles. There are many more legal subjects that are arranged in the Code of Federal Regulations.

Other issues of concern to people are money, family matters, housing problems, debt, and immigration. The law can also be used to keep a country or community in peace. If a person is accused of a crime, he or she may be required to appear in court and possibly hire a lawyer. The outcome of a legal issue depends on the court’s interpretation of the law. The legal profession is a vital part of people’s access to justice.