What Is Law?


Law is a system of rules that a country or community recognizes as regulating the behavior of its citizens and resolving disputes. It covers a wide range of topics, from criminal and civil justice to property rights and corporate regulations. The law also deals with matters pertaining to the environment, health, safety and human rights. The study of law is often seen as a branch of philosophy or social science.

The precise definition of law is a subject of longstanding debate. Some commentators argue that the law is a system of precepts that are created and enforced by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior; others see it as a complex form of morality or justice. Modern military, policing and bureaucratic power over ordinary people’s daily lives pose special problems for accountability that earlier writers such as Montesquieu or Locke did not anticipate.

Some people view the law as a set of moral principles that are perceived to be universal. Natural law theorists believe that these laws are a product of God’s creation, and that humans have a responsibility to obey them.

Other legal theories are more scientific in nature. For example, some scientists believe that certain laws of physics, such as the force of gravity between two objects, are objective and unchanging, and therefore they should be followed. However, other scientists point out that even the laws of physics can be altered through further research.

The study of the law involves a diverse range of subjects and is taught in many different ways. It can be studied in the context of a broad range of subjects, including politics, history and economics, or it can be focused on particular areas such as criminal law, business law, environmental law or labour law. In addition, students may wish to pursue a specialization in the fields of international law or family law.

A student who wishes to become a lawyer must follow a prescribed course of study. Generally, this includes completing a degree program that leads to a Bachelor of Laws (LLB), a Bachelor of Civil Laws (BCL) or a Juris Doctor degree. Then, he or she must undergo a period of training as an articled clerk before becoming admitted to the legal profession.

Once a lawyer is licensed to practice, he or she must follow strict ethical guidelines to maintain professionalism. In addition, he or she must pass a bar exam and be regulated by the legal profession’s professional bodies. This ensures that lawyers are competent to practice and that the law is applied fairly.