What Is Law?


Law is a body of rules and principles that govern the way people live. It serves several important purposes, including establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes, and protecting individual rights.

Civil law is the legal system used in most countries around the world. The sources recognised as authoritative in civil law systems include legislation (especially codifications) and custom.

Common law is the legal system used in some countries, including the United States, Great Britain, and Canada. Its main characteristic is that decisions by courts are explicitly recognized as “law” on equal footing with statutes adopted through the legislative process and regulations issued by the executive branch.

Competition law, also known as antitrust law, is a developing field that traces its roots to Roman decrees against price fixing and the English restraint of trade doctrine. It seeks to control businesses that exploit market power to distort prices and benefit themselves at the expense of consumers.

Labour law concerns a tripartite industrial relationship between workers, employers, and trade unions. It includes collective bargaining regulation, employment rights and the right to strike.

Property law defines people’s rights and duties towards tangible property (such as land or buildings) and intangible property (such as bank accounts or shares of stock).

Law spreads beyond the core subjects into virtually every area of life, influencing everything from contracts to social relations. It is also the basis of the political system of most countries, and forms the basis of a range of relationships between governments, private actors, and citizens.

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