What Is Law?


Law is a set of rules made by a government to govern its people. It includes laws passed by a legislature and customs recognized by judicial decision. The study of this system is called jurisprudence. Law is the basis of all social order and a source of moral guidance. People can have careers in a variety of areas related to the law, such as advising others about the law and representing clients in court.

A formal accusation that a person has committed a crime, usually a felony. Also called an indictment or information.

The underlying principles of a society that promote stability, security and economic well-being by making sure everyone is held accountable to the law and treated fairly. The principles include supremacy of the law, equality before the law, accountability to the law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty and avoidance of arbitrariness.

One of the basic pillars of the rule of law is that everyone has a right to a fair trial and a public hearing of his or her case. The legal system must be independent from the influence of special interests and must provide a level playing field for all parties involved.

A restraining order that prevents a named party from taking some action, usually until a judge can hold a hearing on the issue. A temporary restraining order can also be referred to as an injunction or a preliminary injunction.

The branch of the law that deals with civil rights, property, contracts, torts and criminal activity. It includes the criminal laws that punish people who commit crimes against the state or its citizens, and the civil laws that allow people to sue each other for damages.

The law of nations is a collection of legal principles that are applied across a nation to ensure that its citizens are treated fairly. The laws of nations are usually based on international treaties and agreements, but they can also be influenced by a country’s history and culture. The laws of nations are designed to provide a foundation for international stability and cooperation. However, there is always the possibility that laws of nations can be misused or abused by governments. It is for this reason that the United States and other countries maintain a network of international organizations to monitor compliance with international laws and promote the rule of law. These organizations are known as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the International Criminal Court (ICC).