What is Law?


Law is a system of rules that are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior. It shapes politics, economics and history in various ways and serves as a mediator of relations between people.

Legal Tradition

A tradition of legal law is a set of rules, concepts and principles that form the basis of a country’s legal system. This can vary by country and is influenced by its historical background.

Common law and civil law are the two major legal traditions, each with its own source, concept, rule and development history. Some nations also have a religious tradition of law, such as Islamic Sharia and Jewish Halakha, both of which are based on religious precepts.

Definition of Law

1. A rule prescribed by the supreme power of a state, commanding what its subjects are to do and prohibiting what they are to forbear; a statute.
2. A rule enjoining the duties of piety and morality, prescribed by God and found in the Scriptures.

3. A rule of conduct prescribed by the supreme power of a civil society, regulating the relationships between the members of that community; a statute.

4. A law or rule that is accepted as a legitimate form of conduct and regarded as conformable to societal values.

5. A system of rules that is agreed to by a society and that serves as an effective form of control over the behaviour of its citizens.

A law may be made by a group legislature or by a single legislator, resulting in statutes; by the executive through decrees and regulations; or established by judges through precedent, normally in common law jurisdictions. Private individuals may create legally binding contracts, including arbitration agreements that adopt alternative ways of resolving disputes to standard court litigation.