Law is a set of rules established and enforced by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It shapes politics, economics, history and society in many ways, and can be used to enforce peace between individuals or nations. While the precise definition of law has been a subject of long debate, most legal systems recognize the need for enforceable rules that establish an ethical framework for ensuring a just and peaceful society.
The ubiquity of legal systems and the vast number of different fields that draw upon the law underscores the need for a clear, well-defined concept of law that is applicable to all contexts. This is especially true in the case of science, where law is employed in a variety of ways to advance human knowledge and promote global cooperation.
A common definition of law is the collection of statutes and other enacted laws, but it also includes the set of principles that govern how courts make decisions and to which judges are bound. It includes the body of precedent – past rulings that influence future decisions until a new judicial decision overturns them – and the body of unwritten law, which can be applied in a given case by a judge based on a variety of considerations, including prior rulings, cultural context, and practical considerations.
In addition, it focuses on the role of law as an instrument of development and poverty alleviation, and includes the principle that the rule of law is a fundamental requirement for the promotion of peace, security and prosperity among peoples and nations. The principle requires that all persons and entities, public and private, be accountable under laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced, independently adjudicated and consistent with international human rights norms and standards.
The study of law is a diverse and fascinating field, with countless career opportunities for those who wish to serve the public through advising clients on legal issues or representing them in court. The legal system is a complex structure, with numerous terms that are unfamiliar to the general public. A quick look at a legal dictionary can help to expand one’s vocabulary.
Some of the most commonly used words in the legal system are: