What Is Law?


Law is a set of rules created by the state that form a framework to ensure a peaceful society. When these laws are broken, sanctions can be imposed. Throughout history, different ideas about and definitions of law have been formulated. This is mainly due to the fact that law is complex from a methodological viewpoint and possesses peculiar features that distinguish it from other disciplines and sciences.

Unlike empirical science (such as the law of gravity) and social science, law makes normative claims. This distinguishes it from other social behavioral norms, such as morals and customs, which are not bound to authority.

The regulating function of law, however, does not necessarily have to be based on its normative content. The realist approach, which focuses on the authorities’ actions in case of law violations, also views law as a phenomenon that functions as a mediator.

Regardless of the defining features of law, it can be divided into several subfields. Criminal law relates to the legal procedures and principles that govern crimes committed by individuals or groups. Civil law deals with the rights and obligations of citizens and companies. Administrative law includes regulations that are used to manage public services, such as water, energy and telecommunications. These are generally based on economic, ecological and cultural concerns.

These subfields are all related to the fundamental question of whether or not there is a general law that governs human activities. In order to answer this question, one must analyze the way law is established and enforced by different societies. Prestate societies usually attempt to resolve conflicts by reaching a consensus during negotiations or by using physical force. With the development of a modern legal system, these methods were replaced by judicial proceedings and enforceable court judgments.

The law as a whole has many purposes: establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes and protecting liberties and rights. Some legal systems are better at serving these purposes than others. For example, an authoritarian regime may keep the peace and maintain the status quo, but it can also oppress minorities and prevent social change. Conversely, a liberal democracy may promote the rule of law and protect individual rights, but it can lose its democratic legitimacy by invading other countries or by allowing political corruption.

Law studies are often viewed as daunting and challenging for most students. They may think that a law research paper is impossible to write because they have been taught that the study of laws is for experts only. To help them get started, it is recommended that they find a topic they are interested in and look for relevant books and articles on the subject matter. Then, they should follow the logical steps of writing a law paper. This process is not a simple task, and it requires a great deal of patience and perseverance. Once they have completed their research, they should review the final draft to ensure logical consistency with the arguments made in the main part of the paper.