The Basics of Law

Law is a system of rules that society develops to deal with crime, business agreements, and social relationships.

o Criminal laws and punishments are set up by governments that people must follow or face prison time or fines for breaking them.

Constitutional laws and rights are also encoded into the law of the land in writing or through a tacit understanding of a culture’s values.

The law is a complex and evolving field that covers the regulation of a wide range of activities and relations between people. It serves four principal purposes: to establish standards, maintain order, resolve disputes, and protect liberties and rights.

Property law defines people’s rights and duties towards their tangible (real) and intangible property. It includes land law, property rights in movable objects, and intangible rights such as stocks and shares.

Contract law governs all kinds of agreements involving goods, services or things of value. It is the most comprehensive of the three main branches of law, and regulates everything from buying a bus ticket to trading options on a derivatives market.

Labor law deals with collective bargaining, organizing, and other forms of employee relations. It is an area of law that has been largely abandoned by many governments and is often attacked by employers.

The rule of law is a principle of governance that ensures that citizens are subject to laws that are publicized and applied evenly, are equally enforced, and are independently adjudicated. It requires that justice is administered in a fair, timely, and efficient manner by competent and ethical representatives and neutrals who are accessible to the public and have adequate resources.