Understanding the Concept of Law
Law is a system of rules that a society develops to deal with crime, business agreements, social relationships and other issues. It also refers to the profession of people who work in this area, such as lawyers and judges.
The concept of law has numerous facets that are important to study, including the nature and meaning of legal rights, the role of the legal process in shaping politics, economics, history and society and the various types of laws in existence around the world. Law can be analyzed from an historical, political and economic perspective or from a more philosophical angle.
For example, the ‘law of gravity’ is a natural law because it always works the same way every time it is applied. However, a scientific law, like the ‘law of gravity’, can change with new discoveries or even be disproved.
In “common law” systems, for example, judicial decisions are acknowledged as part of the law and placed on equal footing with statutes adopted through legislative processes and regulations issued by executive branches. This is the foundation of the “doctrine of precedent”, which means that a judge’s ruling in a particular case sets a standard that will apply to similar cases and ensures that future courts will reach the same conclusions. This is a contrast to “civil law” systems, which have more detailed laws and are less flexible in how they adapt to changing social circumstances.