What Is Law?

Categories : Gambling


Law is a collection of rules imposed by authority that command what is to be done or prohibit what is not to be done. These rules are enforceable by the courts. The governing principle of law is stare decisis, which means that a later court or ruling must take precedence over an earlier one on the same issue — or at least must follow the logic of the decision. This is a core part of how the legal system works, though it varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

The main function of the law is to ensure justice, whether distributive or corrective. Distributive justice involves ensuring that all members of society receive the social benefits available to them; and corrective justice focuses on punishing those who violate the law. The law is also a guidepost for minimally acceptable behaviour in a society (e.g., laws against causing injury to others and to their property).

Laws are generally written to reflect the social values of a particular nation or region, but they must be adaptable as the social environment changes. Laws may be changed through constitutional amendments or by popular referendum, or through more informal processes such as the pressure of stakeholders to take a stand on an issue. Laws must be accessible, publicized, stable and applied evenly by representatives, neutrals and agents who are competent, ethical, impartial, and reflect the makeup of the community they serve. The legal profession is highly specialized, with many lawyers choosing to specialize in only a few areas of the law.