Law is a system of rules that establishes a framework to ensure a peaceful society. It is a system that shapes politics, economics and history in many ways. It also serves as a mediator of relationships between people. The field of study concerned with these laws is called jurisprudence or the legal profession.
It is difficult to give a precise definition of law as legal systems differ, and individual people have different views about what constitutes law. However, there are some key concepts that can be identified.
One important concept is the rule of law, which requires that governments and other public institutions are accountable to the law, that all citizens are equal before the law and that the law is impartially enforced. Another important concept is the principle of separation of powers, which outlines the roles of various governmental departments and the limits on the authority of each. A third important concept is the principle of transparency, which relates to the disclosure of information and evidence.
The law covers all aspects of human behaviour and aims to ensure a safe society. This includes civil rights and criminal justice. It is also used to control businesses and impose penalties for breaking the law. It is often divided into a number of sub-fields, including tax, banking and financial regulation, competition law, labour law and space law.
There are also some other issues that are governed by law, such as privacy, freedom of speech and religious beliefs. For example, the sharia law in Islamic countries applies a set of principles to personal and public affairs. This type of law is usually based on tradition, precedent and scripture rather than on scientific research.
Other fields of law include labour and employment law, which encompasses collective bargaining and the right to strike. Competition law is the body of laws that prohibit businesses from using their market power to distort prices and reduce consumer welfare. Banking and financial regulation sets minimum capital standards, regulates the size of banks and defines best practice in investment to avoid crises like the Wall Street Crash of 1929.
Law is a vast subject and it is impossible to cover all of its areas in detail. Three broad categories are presented below, although the subjects of each category intertwine and overlap. Labour law, for example, includes laws that protect a worker’s job security and health and safety. The field of competition law includes everything from Roman decrees against price fixing to modern antitrust legislation. Consumer law is a more general term that encompasses anything from regulations on unfair contractual terms and clauses to directives on airline baggage insurance. Each of these areas has its own specialist practitioners. For a fuller discussion of these topics, see the articles on each area. The law is a fascinating and diverse subject and it is a hugely important part of our daily lives. If you want to find out more about the law then why not consider studying it?