The Definition of the Law

The law defines the rules that manage human behavior in a community environment. These are made by authorized official bodies and must be obeyed by everyone because they contain threats of punishment for violation. The law influences politics, economics, history and society in many ways. For example, it shapes people’s access to justice. It also governs the military and police forces that shape civil rights and social service. It regulates trade and commerce, and it defines the boundaries of private property.

It is difficult to give a clear definition of the law because it can be understood differently by different people. Some scholars think that it means a set of rules that dictates human conduct and is enforced by a control system through penalties, while others have taken a broader view of the term to include all types of coercive rules made by governing bodies. In addition, a wide variety of legal systems exist in the world, and each one is influenced by its culture and historical situation.

For example, the common law system in the United States relies on judicial decisions and a doctrine called stare decisis, which holds that previous cases have established precedent. By contrast, the civil law system in Japan relies on codes that explicitly specify the rules judges must follow as they decide cases. Other branches of law include contract law, which establishes a person’s rights and duties in agreements, tort law, which provides compensation for damage to persons or their property, and criminal law, which covers offences against the state itself.