Law is the set of rules that a community or a government creates to govern its members. Law imposes obligations, privileges, and prohibitions on people and their actions. It also establishes the basis for conflict resolution and enables the creation of markets. Law is one of the fundamental building blocks of a functioning society and its application has become an integral part of everyday life.
The term “law” is used in many different ways and its precise definition is a matter of longstanding debate. Some academics define it as the body of legal rules and norms imposed by social or governmental institutions to control human behavior. Others use the term more broadly to refer to the underlying principles that govern a particular activity or system. Regardless of its precise definition, there is consensus that law can be understood as an area of inquiry that encompasses several related disciplines.
In this article, the authors seek to explore a number of questions about the nature of law and its role in human society. They also argue that a broad view of law requires an understanding of the interrelationships between the various fields in which it operates. The article is divided into seven chapters.
An introductory chapter describes the basic structure of law as a discipline. It includes an explanation of the different components of law, including jurisprudence and the philosophy of law. It also includes a brief history of the development of the concept of law.
The first section of the article explains that the most important function of law is to limit the exercise of power over people by regulating and controlling certain activities. The next sections explore the types of power that can be exerted in the context of law and the functions that these powers serve. The final section of the article considers some controversies and challenges that surround the practice of law.
In a democracy, laws reflect the values and aspirations of the people that inhabit a nation-state. These laws determine who has power, who has rights, and how those rights are enforced. The political landscape varies widely from one nation-state to another and is frequently unstable. Revolutions are common, and the desire for democratic rule and greater rights for citizens is a recurring theme in international politics and law.
A recurring controversy in the study of law involves how to interpret a constitution’s limits on executive authority. While scholars generally agree that judicial deference to the executive branch is a constitutional imperative, disagreements remain over the nature of a judicial review process and the proper limits on executive power.