Law is a system of rules that governs the behavior of people in society and, when violated, can lead to punishment. Different legal systems vary, but all have the potential to serve a variety of purposes such as keeping peace, maintaining social order, preserving individual rights, ensuring that the government is accountable to its citizens, promoting economic justice and development, and enabling orderly social change.
Different people have many ideas about what constitutes a law, and numerous books and debates have been written on the subject. Some of the major theories are:
a law is an enactment that declares something to be wrong or forbidden and is enforced by mechanisms created and controlled by the state. It also includes a theory of how the law functions by making predictions about its operation as evidenced by the actual behavior of bad men.
The term is applied to a wide range of activities, including contract law (regulating agreements for goods and services), criminal law (criminal trials, prosecutions, plea bargaining and sentencing), administrative law, property law (relationships between people and their tangible belongings), and constitutional law (rules for the conduct of governmental affairs).
In some jurisdictions, judges are bound by decisions and rulings made in previous cases. This is called “stare decisis” and judges must follow these prior decisions if they are faced with a similar case in the future. This is the basic idea behind judicial precedent, which helps to ensure that judges make consistent decisions and that the law stays consistent over time.