What Is Law?


Law is a system of rules and regulations which is enforceable by social institutions. This includes civil, criminal and administrative law. In many countries, laws are created through a legislative process. However, in some cases, laws are created through an executive decision. These are usually referred to as state-enforced laws.

Law is sometimes called the art of justice. It serves to protect individuals against majorities, provide orderly social change, and maintain the status quo. Some legal systems do these tasks better than others.

A legal issue is an unexpected event, or a question or problem that has legal implications. A legal issue might arise from a family dispute, a sudden illness, or a planned event. If it does, a person may need the assistance of a lawyer. A legal issue can also be an undisputed evidence. A court’s interpretation of the law will determine the outcome of the case.

A common legal issue is the right to healthcare. Other issues include immigration, voting, and environmental concerns. These legal issues are expected to grow in importance. For instance, the rights of LGBTQs, immigration, and human trafficking will be of particular concern.

Depending on the type of legal system, the practices of lawyers may be overseen by the government or by an independent regulating body. For example, in the United States, attorneys must pass a qualifying examination and earn a Juris Doctor degree. A degree such as this is an important component of the access to justice that is provided to citizens.

The concept of “natural law” was first developed in ancient Greek philosophy and was re-entered into mainstream culture through the writings of Thomas Aquinas. Naturalists argue that the concept of law is rooted in human reason and conscience. Some legal systems, such as religious law, are explicitly based on religious precepts.

The International Court of Justice is a key United Nations dispute settlement organ. The Court has issued numerous judgments and advisory opinions. Its members serve as experts in their individual capacity, consulting with UN specialized agencies on issues of international law.

The International Law Commission promotes progressive development of international law. It is composed of 34 members from around the world. It was established in 1947 by the General Assembly, and its members represent the principal legal systems in the world. Its work includes preparing drafts on aspects of international law, and consulting with other UN specialized agencies on issues such as human rights. The Commission is not a government agency.

One of the primary functions of law is to regulate industries. In the United States, for example, water and gas are regulated. In most OECD nations, telecomms are regulated as well. In addition, financial regulation sets the standards of best practice for investment. Lastly, consumer law covers the rights of consumers, such as when a company sells goods at a price higher than the actual value.

Law is also the basis for political action. In modern times, revolts against political-legal authority have been a frequent theme in politics.