What Is Law?


Law is a system of rules that a society develops in order to deal with crime and business agreements and to regulate the rights and responsibilities of citizens. It can also be a field of study and a profession. People who study law are often called lawyers or, less commonly, ‘esquires’ (to denote barristers of greater dignity) or Doctors of Law (because of the rigorous training that they have undergone).

The main subject areas in which law is studied are contracts, criminal justice, property and civil procedure. However, the subjects of law extend into virtually every area of life. Contract law, for example, covers all agreements between two or more parties that exchange goods or services; criminal justice concerns a person’s right to be free from discrimination and to fair trial; and property law defines the rights and duties of individuals toward tangible property.

Other topics that fall under the broad umbrella of law include taxation, banking and financial regulation, employment laws, space law and environmental law. In addition, there are a number of specialist fields within these main subjects such as forensic science, family law and criminal justice.

The law is entirely contingent on humans and their mental operations; for that reason there is no possibility of empirical verification of its contents. For this reason it is a matter of faith for many people and, in religious societies, it is based on religious precepts such as those contained in Jewish Halakha or Islamic Sharia.

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