How to Write a Good Law Article


Law is a set of rules that a society creates and enforces to regulate behavior. It shapes politics, economics, history and society in a multitude of ways and serves as the mediator of relations between people. Law is a peculiar subject in that it has both a descriptive and a prescriptive character. Descriptive laws tell what happens when certain conditions are met, such as the law of gravity. Normative laws dictate how people ought to behave, such as the law of self-preservation.

The resulting complexity of law makes it impossible for any single science or discipline to fully grasp its entirety. However, there are certain generalisations that can be made. For example, it can be said that there are two broad categories of law: civil and criminal. Civil law, which is found on all continents and covers about 60% of the world’s population, draws heavily on Roman law, alongside concepts and categories inherited from religious law (e.g., Jewish halakha and Islamic Sharia), while criminal law concerns offences against state or other governing body authority.

Civil and criminal laws also differ in how they are made. In civil law systems, legislatures codify and consolidate their laws into a legal code, while criminal laws are primarily judge-made through the use of precedent. However, both methods have their problems. For example, a judge may rule in a particular way for one case but then decide to do things differently the next time, which leads to inconsistent justice and undermines the trustworthiness of law itself.

Legal writing must be clear and concise, using a tone that is accessible to the widest possible audience. This is especially important for legal articles, as there are a lot of misconceptions about what the purpose of law is and how it should be used.

Another key aspect of legal writing is avoiding jargon, which can be particularly difficult for non-lawyers. Legal writing is a unique genre that requires specialised language, but the best legal writers make an effort to write so that their article can be read by anyone without having to translate complex terms or concepts into layman’s terms.

A good legal article is also balanced and fair. This means covering all relevant points, rather than taking one side or the other in a controversy. In addition, a legal article should include citations to allow readers to find the source material they need in order to understand the argument being made.

Legal articles are usually structured into three main sections: the core subjects of law; the legal procedures that must be followed in order to carry out a legal task; and evidence law, which concerns the admissibility of a piece of evidence for a court case. These subjects can then be broken down into the specific areas of the law, such as contracts law, torts law, labour and property law. A comprehensive understanding of the law requires that students study all of these topics, as they all interact with each other.