A body of norms enacted and enforced by a political authority to govern human conduct, maintain order, and ensure justice. Its precise definition is subject to scholarly inquiry and debate. Law encompasses a broad variety of fields, including contract law (including contracts for transportation and financial services), criminal law, family law, property law, administrative law, and international law.
One view of law is that it reflects the shared values of a society, and is a tool for maintaining social stability and equilibrium. Thus laws protect the society’s social values that everyone subscribes to. The conflict that may arise within such a society is at the personal level.
Another theory of law views it as a means for harmonizing conflicting groups. Laws, according to this view, provide the machinery for settling these conflicts either through political debate or through policy making.
The third theory of law is that it represents the official control of an organised political society. It encompasses all the legal precepts and all the official mechanisms for adjusting relationships and ordering behaviour.
This view also views the function of law as a way to keep the peace, maintain the status quo, preserve individual rights, promote social change, and deal with grievances between individuals. It is therefore important to ensure the independence of the judiciary, the accountability of government officials, the transparency of business, and the integrity of legal procedures. This requires that the laws are accessible to ordinary people, so they can internalize them and figure out what they require of them.