What is the Law?

The Law is the set of rules governing a society. These laws are enforced by governments and may result in punishment for violations. They can be created by a group legislature, resulting in statutes; by the executive, through decrees and regulations; or by courts, with rulings having broader legal weight because they are precedent (known as stare decisis). In some cases, private individuals may also create legally binding contracts or arbitration agreements that adopt alternative ways of resolving disputes to standard court litigation.

Law shapes politics, economics, history and society in many different ways. It has numerous branches that focus on specific aspects of life – labour law concerns the tripartite relationship between worker, employer and trade union; contract law regulates agreements to exchange goods or services; property law defines people’s rights and duties toward tangible (physical) possessions such as houses and cars and intangible ones like bank accounts and shares of stock; and forensic and criminal law deal with the ways courts investigate and prosecute crimes.

It is important to note that laws are interpreted and applied by humans, usually attorneys or judges. As such, it is common for reasonable people to disagree about what the law should be.

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