What Is Law?


Law is the set of social rules that are created and enforced by governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It has been variously described as a science and as the art of justice. The precise definition of law is a subject of longstanding debate, with many different theories being advanced.

Law influences and shapes politics, economics, history and society in a variety of ways. There are laws that govern a range of subjects, from the way that public buildings must be maintained to whether you can play loud music late at night.

The study of law is generally divided into three main areas, although these subjects intertwine and overlap. These areas are law and government, public policy and administration, and private and commercial practice.

Law and government is the study of the structures, functions and authority of a state’s governing body. This includes both the central government and local governments, and the way in which they interact with each other and the wider world. It also covers the way that the governing bodies make decisions and how those choices affect society.

In addition, law and government studies the way in which governments are formed and how they work to maintain order and justice in their territory. It also looks at the way in which citizens can challenge and change the way that a government operates.

Public policy and administration is the study of how governments, businesses and organisations manage their operations. This includes the way in which policies are devised and implemented, the way in which public service and utilities are run and the way in which organisations are regulated. This area of law is highly interconnected with the rest of the legal system, and it is often difficult to separate out its distinct features from those of the larger legal world.

Legal ethics and the philosophy of law are also studied by students of law. These topics consider the role of lawyers and the ways in which they should behave. They also look at the ethical problems that may arise in the practice of law, such as professional misconduct and conflicts of interest.

Jurists have offered a wide variety of definitions of law. The most common view is that it is a way of securing social justice. This view is shared by most of the major religious traditions, and it underpins the rule of law in most of the world’s nations. It also underpins the notion that all people have certain fundamental rights, such as the right to life and the freedom of speech and religion. Other theorists have emphasised the idealistic and moral aspects of law. For example, Jeremy Bentham suggested that law is a way of regulating conduct that is in conflict with basic human values. This view is still held by some philosophers.