What Is Law?

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Law is a set of rules created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to ensure that individuals or communities adhere to the will of a sovereign state. It may be enacted by legislative bodies in the form of statutes, or by the executive through decrees and regulations, or established by judges through precedent, which is the dominant legal system in common law jurisdictions. It can also be created by private individuals through contracts that are binding, and it can be based on religious precepts as with the Jewish Halakhah or Islamic Sharia and Christian canon laws.

A fundamental aspect of law is that it applies to all members of a society, regardless of their economic status or social class. Equal protection under the law means that people suffer legal consequences for wrongdoing no matter who they are or what they do, and that there are mechanisms in place to prevent abuses of power by those in positions of authority.

The societal and political context of the rule of law is also important, because it determines how well or poorly a rule will be implemented and enforced. For example, a democracy with an independent press and free and fair elections will be more likely to promote the rule of law than one that does not.

Another key aspect of the rule of law is that it should be transparent to citizens, making it easy for them to obtain and review government documents and to interact with government officials. This can help to build trust in the rule of law, as it shows that the public’s interest is being protected and that the rule of law is a valued institution.

An article is a paragraph in a legal document, such as a statute, code or court decision. An article may discuss how a particular law should be applied in certain circumstances, or it may provide a summary of the law that is being argued in a case. In the United States, an article in a statute or code is usually numbered by chapter and section.

A major field of law is criminal law, which deals with crimes against the state, such as murder and treason. Civil law, which includes fields such as tort and contract, involves disputes between private parties. Other areas of law include administrative, constitutional and environmental law. In addition, there are specialized fields such as immigration and nationality law, maritime law, bankruptcy law, evidence law and tax law. Each of these is a separate field, but they are all related to the study of the rule of law.