Law is a system of rules that people, communities and governments develop in order to deal with crime, business agreements and social relationships. It is also a term that refers to the people who work within this system, such as lawyers and judges.
The Law serves many purposes; for example, it protects the health and safety of people and insures that society is run in a fair manner. It also serves to resolve disputes, and protects rights.
Legal systems vary widely, with different traditions of law based on a country’s history and culture. Some are based on concepts, categories and rules from Roman or medieval law; others, like civil law systems, reflect more of the local customs and practices.
There are two broad kinds of laws: criminal and civil. The former governs crimes and other violations of a person’s rights, while the latter regulates transactions such as buying and selling goods and services, or trading options on a derivative market.
Criminal laws are primarily enforced by the police and courts. A court may order a person to pay fines and serve prison time for committing a crime. In the United States, federal courts follow guidelines from the United States Sentencing Commission when determining punishment for a crime.
Some forms of criminal law are specialized, such as the laws on obscene and threatening phone calls, while others are universal, such as those governing school buses.
Law is a complex, ever-changing and evolving discipline that covers all aspects of human interaction. It is the foundation of modern democratic societies and a fundamental basis for the social order.
The Rule of Law:
In a democratic society, the law should be reasonably stable, so that citizens can plan their lives with reasonable confidence and know in advance the consequences of various actions. It should also guarantee against official arbitrariness and anarchy.
The Rule of Law is achieved by a combination of four essential elements: stability, capacity, adherence and clarity of standards or principles.
Stability: The law should be stable enough to permit planning and coordination over long periods of time, without undue influence from outside the community.
Capacity: The law should be able to establish clear standards or principles that people can understand and adhere to, so that they can make sound decisions for themselves and their families.
adherence: The law should be able to enforce clear standards or principles by providing a fair, efficient and timely process for resolving disputes.
Clarity: The law should be based on clear and precise definitions of rights and duties, so that they are self-evident to both the individual and the larger community.
The Rule of Law requires that citizens be able to appeal to the courts when they believe that they have been wronged or that a law has been broken. This can be done by filing a motion in the lower court or requesting an appeal to the higher court. A court can then decide whether the case has been properly handled.