What Is Law?

Law is a set of rules and regulations that a governing body creates to ensure that society runs smoothly. It can be applied to a wide range of situations, including contracts (which regulate the exchange of goods or services), property (which defines people’s rights and duties toward tangible things such as houses or cars), criminal and civil justice, and more.

While it is difficult to give a precise definition of law, scholars have created many different theories on the subject. Hans Kelsen created the “pure theory of law,” which asserts that law is a normative science that simply defines certain rules to abide by. Another law definition, that of Roscoe Pound, asserts that law is a tool of social control that fulfills the needs and interests of the public.

Regardless of the definition you choose to use, it is clear that laws have a profound impact on our daily lives. Whether it’s contract law regulating how we trade goods and services, criminal justice system keeping us safe from crime, or civil justice system ensuring that the poor are treated fairly, laws are an integral part of our societies.

To understand the full impact of laws on our daily lives, we must consider how they are made and enforced. A fundamental element of a well-run society is the Rule of Law, which establishes transparent and accessible processes; equal access to lawyers for all; and core human, procedural and property rights that are respected by all.