Law is a system of rules created by a government and enforced by institutions to regulate behavior. It shapes politics, economics and society in many ways. A legal career can be rewarding and lucrative if you love to work with people and solve problems. There are several different types of laws – contract law, property law, trust law, criminal law and constitutional law.
In a nation, law serves the principal purposes of keeping the peace, maintaining the status quo, protecting individuals against majorities, promoting social justice and providing for orderly social change. It is a complex matter and some nations’ governments do a better job of serving these purposes than others do.
Law can be found in written statutes, constitutions and treaties, and also in the decisions and interpretations of judicial authorities. The body of unwritten law referred to as common law draws on detailed records and precedents of past cases. Laws can also be developed through scientific research and discovery. For example, a scientific law can be an indisputable fact such as the law of gravity: The force of attraction between two objects depends on their masses and the distance between them. A law can also be a statement of what happens or an opinion of why it occurs, such as the law against murder: It is against the law to kill someone in this country.
The word law can also be used to refer to all of a country’s laws, as in Zola was breaking the law when she killed her father. Law can also be a field of study, with students learning about advising clients, representing them in court and enforcing punishments.
In the field of politics, law can also mean a set of enforceable rules that regulate political activity and the conduct of parties. A lawmaker may make laws that govern how elections are conducted, the voting process, limiting the number of political parties and other activities involving political participation. Lawmakers must follow a strict ethical code when making laws, as they are responsible for the well-being of their constituents and must not abuse their power. Those who break the law may face fines or imprisonment depending on the violation and severity of the offense. This is why it is important for politicians to understand the laws of their nation before running for office and to be familiar with the history of the country’s laws and traditions. The Constitution of the United States, for instance, sets out specific rules about what a candidate must do to be eligible to run for president. The United States Supreme Court has interpreted this document and other laws to ensure that elections are fair and honest. It is also important to know what the law says about abortion, immigration and other controversial issues.