The Study of Law


Law is a system of rules that regulates behavior and ensures that individuals adhere to a particular social order. This social order may be set by a constitution or other central body, resulting in statutes and decrees, or by judges through precedent in common law jurisdictions. In addition, laws can be created by private organizations or individuals in contractual agreements. Laws are often a source of scholarly inquiry in legal history, philosophy, economic analysis and sociology.

The study of law involves an examination of the context in which it operates and the underlying principles that give it its power. For example, there are a variety of theories about how law functions in society. One theory, advanced by H. L. A. Hart, argues that the role of law is to harmonize conflicting interests and achieve social stability and equilibrium.

Another theory of how law operates is that it is a natural process that emerges from the interaction of people in a certain place and time. In this view, law is a result of the way people behave in everyday life. When people are able to resolve their conflicts without resorting to force, this creates a kind of balance that becomes a law.

Still another theory of how law works is that it is a continuous, flowing process. This is an ontological understanding of law, a concept that was introduced by Holmes. According to this concept, as people experience events in their daily lives they will begin to assign truth or false values to mathematically undecidable propositions. These judgments will then become part of the legal system that will govern their actions in the future.