The OWL Guide to Law

Categories : Gambling


The law is a set of rules that governs people and society. Its purpose is to ensure that everyone carries out their duties and respects the rights of others, in order to keep our societies safe and peaceful. However, even in well-ordered societies conflicts arise and people sometimes disagree about what the law should be. When a dispute isn’t settled peacefully, the police and courts take charge. They rule on disputes, ensuring that everyone’s rights are protected and that justice is served.

Different nations use different legal systems. Some countries have civil law, in which the constitution or other central authority codifies laws, and others have common law, where judge-made precedent is binding. There are also some religions which have their own laws that apply to believers.

Laws can be divided into categories, such as contract law (which regulates agreements between people and businesses), property law (which defines people’s rights and duties towards tangible things they own or control), criminal law (which deals with offenses against the state or its citizens) and administrative law (which governs the way governments operate). The law also has many sub-disciplines, for example, labour law (which covers the tripartite industrial relationship between worker, trade union and employer), family law (marriage and divorce proceedings), criminal procedure law (the rules that must be followed during a trial) and evidence law (which concerns what can be used as proof in court).

There are many jobs related to the study of law: lawyers (who give advice about legal issues and represent clients in court), judges and magistrates (who decide cases) and paralegals (who support legal professionals in their work). Law is also an important subject for students in schools, colleges and universities.

The study of law can be very rewarding, and a career in the legal profession is increasingly attractive to young people. The study of law provides a valuable foundation for understanding our modern world.

About this Article

This article is part of the OWL Guide to Law. The OWL Guide to Law is a collection of online resources designed to help students with their legal research. It includes primary source materials, scholarly articles and commentary, a searchable database of law school and law library holdings, and links to a variety of helpful websites.

The OWL Guide to Law is a project of the Legal Information Institute, a division of Cornell University. For more information about the project or to contribute content, visit the OWL Guide to Law Web site.

This article was automatically selected for inclusion in the OWL Guide to Law by an automated software program. This process may have produced errors. Please review the entire article, including footnotes and the legal citation, to ensure that the information is accurate. This article may be edited or updated. If you find any mistakes or would like to add new content, contact the Editor at [email protected]. Copyright 2010 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. Except as otherwise noted, this material is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License.