Law is the system of rules that a society accepts and enforces to govern the behavior of its citizens. A society that does not have a well-defined legal system can fail to function properly and may even be in danger of self-destructing.
Law can include all sorts of things, from rules about how people can interact with each other and property to how they can go to court when they are wronged. The study of Law involves a wide range of disciplines, including anthropology, economics, history, and political science. People who work in the Law profession are known as lawyers and judges.
The precise definition of Law depends on the kind of legal system in question. For instance, a constitutional state has laws that define how different parts of the government relate to each other and the people they serve. A civil law country has laws that deal with everyday issues like contracts and torts, while criminal law deals with stopping people from breaking the laws and punishing them if they do break them.
A legal system can also have a set of principles that determine the basis for making new laws, or the interpretation of existing ones. For example, a judge in a criminal trial must make sure that they have the evidence to prove an accused person’s guilt or innocence. This usually requires an understanding of the elements that constitute a crime (actus reus) and a clear connection between the act and its effect (mens rea). A judge’s understanding of this is called common law or natural law.