What Is Law?


Generally, law is a set of rules or regulations that are enforceable by social institutions, including governments. It shapes the way society is governed and its economics, politics, and history. It also provides people with access to justice.

There are three main types of legal systems: common law, civil law, and international law. Common law systems are distinguished from civil law systems by their explicit acknowledgement of judicial decisions as “law” and the doctrine of precedent.

In contrast, civil law systems are less detailed. They are typically shorter, requiring less detailed judicial decisions.

Common law legal systems also have a doctrine of precedent, which means that a court decision will bind future decisions. This may be amended, reversed, or repealed.

The International Law Commission is an international body that promotes the progressive development of international law. It is composed of 34 members representing the world’s major legal systems. Members serve as experts in their individual capacities and consult with UN specialized agencies on aspects of international law. It also prepares drafts of various aspects of international law.

The International Court of Justice (known as the World Court) is the United Nations’ main dispute settlement organ. It has issued over 170 judgments and advisory opinions. In addition, the Court has been involved in numerous advisory opinions and has also served as a legal adviser to the Secretary-General on more than 500 multilateral treaties.

The United Nations Charter calls on the Organization to promote the progressive development of international law. It also calls on the Organization to help settle international disputes.