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What Is Law?


Law is a system of rules created and enforced by social or governmental institutions that regulate behavior. It has been described as both a science and an art of justice, and its precise definition is a matter of longstanding debate.

The law shapes politics, economics, history and society in many ways. The law can be formulated and enforced at the individual, community or national level. It can be created by a collective legislature in the form of statutes, by the executive through decrees and regulations or established by judges through precedent, which is the case in common law jurisdictions. It may be influenced by religion, such as Islamic Sharia law. It can also be shaped by culture, such as customs that are considered binding by a court of law.

Whether or not the law fulfills its social functions, such as establishing standards, maintaining order, proclaiming symbolic expressions of communal values and resolving disputes, remains controversial. One major issue is how essential the coercive aspect of the law is to its ability to accomplish those functions. Early legal positivists like Hans Kelsen argued that the monopolization of violence and its capacity to impose sanctions is central to the law’s ability to achieve its social functions. More recently, scholars such as Joseph Raz have argued that the coercive element of the law is less important than is commonly believed and that there are other functions that the law accomplishes.

In addition to regulating society, the law establishes property rights and prevents fraud and deception. It protects the safety and health of citizens, ensures fair trials and provides compensation for injury or loss. The law also establishes a system for the peaceful resolution of conflicts and protects individual liberties. In addition, the law governs the actions of government and public officials and provides a means of accountability for their actions.

A legal article is a written document that sets out the rules and principles that must be followed when applying the law. It is a valuable tool for understanding and interpreting the law. It should be clear, concise and free of technical jargon. An article should contain the basic principles of the law as well as examples to illustrate its application.

Some key terms to understand include: arraignment – A legal procedure in which a defendant is brought before a judge and told of the charges against them. brief – A written argument submitted by lawyers for their clients in a legal case. binding precedent – A previous ruling that is deemed to be of such importance that subsequent cases must follow it, even if they have different facts or circumstances. in forma pauperis – A status that allows a person to sue without paying fees for the sake of a public interest. public defender – A legal representative who defends defendants who cannot afford to pay for an attorney.