Law is the set of rules that form the framework to ensure a peaceful society. It ensures that people are treated fairly, protects minority rights against majorities, provides for orderly social change, and protects personal property. Some legal systems do a better job of this than others. For example, while an authoritarian government may keep the peace and maintain the status quo, it also oppresses minorities and limits freedom. A democratic government, on the other hand, promotes social justice and allows for a more equitable distribution of power.
The law is made up of several different parts, including criminal, contract, tort, constitutional, and civil law. Generally, each part has its own subsections that deal with specific areas of law. For instance, tort law covers injury to a person or their property, such as car accidents or defamation. Criminal law covers offenses against the state, such as robbery and murder.
There are a number of laws that govern court procedure, such as discovery and arraignment. A lawsuit is called a case, and the people who are involved in it are known as parties. The judge presiding over the case is called the judge of the case. When the judge makes a decision, it is called a ruling or a judgment. Depending on the type of case, the rulings may be binding or non-binding. A ruling that is binding is a precedent and must be followed by future judges in a similar case.