The Definition of Law


Law is a system of rules that governs crime, business agreements, social relationships and many other things in society. People who work in this system are called lawyers, judges, and prosecutors.

The definition of law as a rule means “to govern” or “to control.” It also means a norm or principle that is imposed on individuals by a legal authority, typically requiring obedience on the part of all subject to the authority. It can also refer to something advisory but not obligatory that is communicated, typically through teaching.

Usually, there are two kinds of laws: civil and criminal law. The former deals with disputes between individuals and the latter with offenses against the government itself or other communities.

There are four principal purposes of law: establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes, and protecting liberties and rights. These are referred to as the four universal principles of law.

One is that law must be clear, publicized, and stable. Another is that it must be applied evenly and fairly to everyone.

The third is that justice must be delivered on time, by competent, ethical, and independent representatives and neutrals who have adequate resources and reflect the makeup of the community they serve.

The last of the four universal principles of law is that it must be administered, adjudicated, and enforced by people who are fair and efficient and who are accessible to all members of a community. These are called the “rule of law” and are a vital foundation for human freedom and prosperity.