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What Is Law?

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Law is the body of rules that people, organizations and governments use to control their behavior. It shapes politics, economics and history in many ways and serves as the basis for social relations. The study of laws is called legal science. People who work in the legal profession are called lawyers. They may also be known as barristers or solicitors, depending on where they live. Lawyers are often referred to as Esquire (in England) or Doctor of Law (in the United States).

There are a variety of definitions for law. Some of them focus on the concept’s societal value, such as the utilitarian notion that law represents “commands, backed by the threat of sanctions, from a sovereign to whom people have a habit of obedience”. Others emphasize law’s moral base, as exemplified by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Still others suggest that law reflects a set of unchanging, fundamental principles of human nature. These views have been influenced by philosophy, religion and other disciplines, such as sociology and the natural sciences.

In the context of the rule of law, law refers to a political system in which all individuals, institutions and entities, including the government itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced, and independently adjudicated and in accordance with international human rights standards. In addition, the system must promote transparency, participation in decision-making and legal certainty.

The broad range of law includes contract law, which regulates agreements to exchange goods and services, property law, defining the rights and duties of people toward tangible items such as land or buildings, and intangible assets such as shares in companies. Environmental law is a significant portion of law, and it provides penalties for pollution or other hazards to the environment. Aviation law is another significant part of law, governing the operation of aircraft and establishing standards for airports.

Law is important to a society because it helps to control and direct human behavior in an effective way, thereby avoiding problems like conflict of interest or crime. The laws are created by the government to protect people from such issues and to help them achieve their goals in a fair and safe manner.

People rely on law for everyday life, from buying things in stores to making money by trading options on the financial markets. Governments enact laws to regulate the economy, to maintain order and safety, to provide basic services and to punish criminals. The resulting legal systems are as diverse as the societies that have them, and they serve a variety of purposes. The law is a central part of the modern world, and it influences culture, language and business practices. It is also an important career option for many young people today. The field of law has numerous subfields, such as criminology, public policy and sociology, which study the interaction between the law and society.

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