What Is Law?


Law is a set of rules created and enforced by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. The precise nature of the law is a matter of debate, and it has been variously described as a science and as an art. Law is not a single entity; it encompasses many different subjects, including criminal law, civil law, evidence law, and property law.

In general, laws describe invariable relationships between phenomena under specified conditions; for example, Boyle’s law explains how volume changes with pressure and temperature, but it does not explain why the relationship is true. Other laws, such as the constitutional law of nations, state that certain things are prohibited or permitted. The practice of law consists of all aspects of the administration and enforcement of law. It includes the training of lawyers and judges, as well as the process by which laws are made. The law should be clear, publicized, stable and apply evenly to all people, regardless of their wealth or status. The law should ensure human rights and freedoms, as well as private property and contract rights.

A judge is a government official with authority to decide lawsuits brought before courts. The chief judge has primary responsibility for the administration of a court and selects other judges to serve on the court’s bench. A clerk of court maintains the court’s records. Prosecutors prosecute criminal cases on behalf of the government. Public defenders represent defendants who cannot afford an attorney in a criminal case. A juror is a person selected by the judge to decide the outcome of a trial after hearing evidence and arguments from both sides. The actual jury is chosen from a group of potential jurors known as the jury pool, which is randomly selected from voter registration banks or other sources.

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