What is Law?
Law is a body of rules created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behaviour. It may be codified by a legislature, resulting in statutes, or by executive decrees and regulations, or established by judges through precedent (known as the “doctrine of stare decisis”), in common law systems. It also includes religious laws, such as Islamic Sharia law, which play a significant role in some societies.
The precise definition of law is a matter of long-standing debate. It is a complex subject that combines both social science and the philosophy of morality. Its fundamental concepts, such as good and evil, are not measurable and so cannot be empirically verified. However, it is an important subject that carries with it deep questions about our values and the nature of society.
It is important for us to recognise that law is not a neutral tool, as many people think, and that its application depends on how it is used. For example, it is essential for a law-abiding citizen to have the right to freedom of speech and expression, as well as the right to a fair trial and justice, regardless of their wealth or status. It is also necessary for us to have mechanisms in place to prevent abuse of power. These are just a few of the deeper dimensions to Law that we must consider in order to understand and support its existence.