Law is the system of rules that a society or government develops in order to deal with crime, business agreements and social relationships. The term can also refer to the people who work in this system, such as police officers or lawyers.
The laws of a country can be used to keep peace, maintain the status quo, protect individual rights, prevent minorities from being oppressed, promote social justice and provide for orderly social change. These functions depend on the political structure of the country and can vary greatly between nations.
Some nations have more effective systems of law than others. For example, countries that have a strong military may have better security systems than those with weaker governments.
Another function of laws is to resolve disputes between individuals. They provide a framework and rules to help people settle disputes, which can be brought before an impartial tactic, such as a judge or jury.
Many courts exist at all levels from local to federal, and there are many different legal options available for individuals who have a dispute.
Some of the most common types of laws include property law, criminal law and business law. Other areas of law include immigration, nationality and social security law.
Laws can also be referred to as statutes or acts of Congress. A statute is a law that has been passed by the Congress and signed by the president.
When a bill has been passed by both the Senate and House, it is sent to the president for his signature. If the president signs it, it becomes a law and is cited with a number in the order of its signing. A citation can be found in the United States Code, which lists all public laws currently in force.
Some of the most common forms of law are judicial decisions, statutes and regulations issued by the executive branch. The former are often less detailed than the latter, as a judge or barrister is writing to decide one case, rather than trying to set out reasoning that will be applicable to future cases.