Law is the set of rules and principles that govern the lives of people in societies and nations. It shapes politics, economics and history in many ways. Generally speaking, it can be divided into civil and common laws. The former are based on ideas and categories derived from Roman law with influences from canon and other religious law, while the latter is based on judge-made precedent. In the case of mixed jurisdictions, where civil and common law coexist, the system is sometimes supplemented by local custom or Islamic law.
The term ‘law’ refers to the set of societal norms and regulations that govern our conduct, including the way we relate with others. It encompasses a vast and diverse field of study, and it is not easy to categorize: contract law, for example, covers the agreements we make that involve something of value, whether it is a bus ticket or a derivatives market option; property law defines our rights to intangible and tangible goods and property (like land or cars), as well as intangible property such as bank accounts or shares of stock; criminal law deals with crimes committed against the state or its citizens; and civil rights law is about ensuring that every person receives fair and impartial treatment by the courts or other bodies of their choice.
In addition, laws are influenced by a range of other factors, such as the shape and limitations inherent in the physical world, our own inclinations and proclivities, and our beliefs about what is right and wrong. Because of this, there is no such thing as empirical verification of the content of law. Law, therefore, lacks the credibility that we normally associate with complex theories of good and evil or empirical and social science such as physics (as in the law of gravity) or economics (the law of supply and demand).
Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the law plays an essential role in society. It ensures that contracts are valid, that justice is delivered, and that the government is accountable to its citizens. It also protects individuals’ rights to life, liberty and security of the person.
For these reasons, a legal system that is clear, publicly available, stable and applied evenly is crucial to the human condition. Without it, there can be no justice. And without justice, we can never fully understand or achieve the potential for change and progress. The sages of our time have all preached the importance of law, and their teachings remain a source of inspiration to us today. The articles in this category examine a wide variety of topics related to the law, from ancient jurisprudence to contemporary issues and developments. We hope you will enjoy them.