Law is the body of rules created by a society and enforceable by the state in order to regulate behavior. Whether it is to protect people’s rights, settle disputes or punish crimes, law governs our societies and lives. The study of systems of law and how laws work is therefore important to many fields, from politics and economics to social philosophy and psychology.
Traditionally, there are three main goals of law: establishing standards; maintaining order; resolving disputes and protecting liberties and rights. For example, tort law allows compensation for a person who has been harmed by someone else’s actions, such as in an automobile accident or defamation of character. Property law, meanwhile, regulates ownership of real and personal property; it distinguishes between a right in rem (which gives a person an absolute title to land) and a right in personam (which only grants compensation for the loss).
Another key function of law is to prevent corruption and other abuses of public power. This requires an independent judiciary, transparency in government business and public processes and the respect of citizens for legal procedures. In addition, the rule of law requires that laws are publicly promulgated and equally enforced, with private and public institutions, including the state itself, subject to them.
Modern debates about law often revolve around whether its principles should be ‘epistemically accessible’, meaning that they can be studied and understood in the same way as other norms and values and that they can be used to make decisions. Other debates involve the morality of laws and the need to ensure they reflect international human rights standards.
The study of law is an integral part of the academic curriculum for many degrees. Lawyers are trained in law schools to become expert practitioners of the legal system and have distinct professional identities which are regulated by independent governing bodies. They are required to follow a set of ethical codes and pass regular tests and exams to maintain their license to practise law.
Law is a field of study with applications in virtually all areas of life. The core subjects are labour, property and criminal law, but the subject matter extends to almost every area of human activity. In addition, the law is increasingly a major factor in areas such as science and technology, where legal issues are complex and have implications for public safety. There are also a number of specialized fields, such as aviation law and maritime law. The law is a vital part of our everyday lives, and it is an exciting and challenging career to be involved in. The legal profession is becoming more and more appealing to young people. It is an excellent choice for those who have the drive to succeed and the ambition to help others.