What Is Law?

Law is a framework of rules that ensures that people behave in a manner that is safe and that disputes are resolved fairly. Generally speaking, laws are created by government agencies and enforced by police or other government representatives. The law defines the rules of a society and ensures that everyone is treated equally, regardless of social class, wealth or status. It also ensures that there are checks and balances to prevent abuse of power.

Laws cover a wide variety of topics. For example, property laws deal with ownership of land and buildings. This includes the distinction between a right in rem and a right in personal property, which are different ways of describing ownership of something, as well as legal systems for registration and deeds. Intellectual property and company law are also a part of law.

Other fields include labor law, tort law and criminal law. Labor law covers the tripartite industrial relationship between worker, employer and trade unions, as well as issues like minimum wage and rights to strike. Tort law deals with civil damages for injuries and property loss, such as car accidents or defamation of character. Criminal law refers to offenses against a person or group of persons.

The word law is also used figuratively, such as when someone says they are going to “be a law to themselves,” meaning they will follow their own inclinations without regard to established mores. However, the most common use of the term is to refer to a legal profession and career.