What is Law?

Law is a body of rules enforced by social or governmental institutions to ensure the peace and security of society, and it deals with the resolution of disputes between individuals or entities. Its precise definition is a subject of long-standing debate. Many different books containing various ideas and interpretations about the nature of law have been written. Its most basic definition is that it comprise precepts about what people ought to do or not do and what they may or may not require from others, but it lacks the descriptive or causal character of statements made in empirical sciences (such as a law of gravity) or social science (as in a law of supply and demand).

Law covers a vast range of subjects. For example, labour law concerns the tripartite industrial relationship of worker, employer and trade union; criminal law involves the punishment of people for breaking social rules; civil law addresses how trials are conducted and what evidence is admissible in court. Law also encompasses legal philosophy, which attempts to rationalise law by analyzing its origins, purposes and processes.

A legal term, ‘article’ refers to a paragraph or section of a statute, code or other legal document. The word is often used in reference to legal processes, such as arraignment, discovery, continuance and appeal. Arraignment – A procedure in which a person who has been accused of breaking the law is brought to court and told what charges have been made against him or her; discovery – The examination, before trial, by lawyers of facts and documents held by opponents, including documents not in their possession; continuance – Decision by a judge to postpone trial. Appeals – Requests by both plaintiff and defendant to ask another court to review the result of a trial.