What is Law?

Law is a system of rules that a society or government develops in order to deal with crime, business agreements, social relationships, property and so on. It also sets out the penalties that will be imposed if these rules are broken. Laws may be enforced by police or courts, and they usually apply to everyone equally. However, laws may also be based on religious beliefs or books (for example the Jewish Halakhah or Islamic Sharia).

The main purpose of law is to ensure a stable and peaceful society by setting out how people can interact with each other, for instance, ensuring that everyone pays tax, and preventing a person from being unfairly treated or having their property stolen. Laws also set out the standards that a country must follow in international relations. For example, international law includes things like the Geneva Conventions on the conduct of war and the Roerich Pact.

There are many different types of law, for instance, criminal law deals with punishments for crimes, civil law deals with disputes between individuals and contract law deals with the rights of businesses. Other examples include family law which relates to marriage and divorce, aviation law dealing with the safety of aircraft and all regulations and technical standards related to flight, and medical law which covers topics such as physician-patient privilege, negligence and the rights of patients.

There are also specialised laws such as competition law, which is used to regulate market prices, and labour law, which relates to the tripartite industrial relationship between worker, employer and trade union. Other areas of law include administrative law, which concerns how government agencies operate, and evidence law, which relates to what materials can be used in court cases.