Law is a system of rules created by the state that creates a framework for a peaceful society. This framework includes protections for individuals, a system of justice and the creation of laws to regulate business activities. The rule of law is a key component in this system, a concept developed by scholars including Max Weber that refers to the principles that make up the legal structure of a government. It defines a system in which all people and institutions, public and private, are accountable to the law. This requires the government, as well as private actors, to abide by laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated. The rule of law is a fundamental tenet of democratic governance that entails four universal values: accountability, just law, open government, and access to justice.
The study of law is called jurisprudence. This combines elements of common law and civil law systems to address a variety of issues. In “common law” systems, decisions made by judges and barristers are considered to be law on an equal footing with statutes passed through the legislative process. This is because of the principle of “stare decisis”, a doctrine that holds that previous decisions must be adhered to, except when a court can prove they were wrong in their decision or they differed from current law.
Civil law, on the other hand, consists of a standardized set of legal statutes written by legislators that clearly define the types of cases to be heard and how the courts should decide them. This helps to reduce the biases that can arise when different judges have different interpretations of the same law.
Other areas of the law include criminal law, corporate law, constitutional law and property law. Criminal law deals with the prosecution of criminals and the punishment for their actions. Corporate law includes regulations about the conduct of companies, including taxes and labour policies. Constitutional law refers to the adherence of a country’s national charter, or constitution. Property law includes the ownership of land and property, with the exception of stolen property, which is always confiscated by the police.
Other aspects of the law deal with social responsibility. This can include the regulation of utilities and services like water, gas, electricity and telephones. Another example is taxation, which includes both value added and corporate taxes. Banking and financial law sets minimum standards for banks and provides rules about best practices in investment. In addition, space law addresses the responsibilities of countries with regard to outer space and satellite use. All of these functions, as well as others not mentioned here, help to maintain the order and security of a society. They do so by establishing standards, maintaining discipline, resolving disputes and protecting individual liberties.