Law is a system of rules that are created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. This can be done through statutes, executive decrees and regulations, or by judges establishing precedent, normally in common law jurisdictions.
Definitions and explanations of legal concepts
In a modern society, laws are a complex collection of principles, standards, rules, and statutes that have been developed over the years. They govern how people behave, their rights and duties, and the manner in which they can be punished for breaking these rules.
Types of law
There are three main types of law: civil, common, and religious. The most common of these is civil law, which uses sources such as legislation, codifications in constitutions and statutes, and custom to establish what is authoritative.
Criminal law is based on laws passed by the legislature and judicial decisions; it is often classified as “common law.” Another common form of law is a religious system, which is rooted in scriptures and the teachings of a particular religion.
Defining and understanding law is an incredibly complex subject, with many different theories of how to approach it. Some posit that law is the result of psychological characteristics and social phenomena, while others suggest that it is a matter of empirical, scientific evaluation.
Oxford Reference’s encyclopedia of law includes more than 34,000 concise definitions and in-depth, specialist entries across the broad subject, written by trusted experts for researchers at every level. It covers major terms, concepts, and processes of the legal system, as well as major debates in legal theory.