Law is the collection of rules established and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior and ensure that individuals adhere to a common set of standards. It can be made by a collective legislature, resulting in statutes, or by the executive, resulting in decrees and regulations, or by judges, in a system known as “common law.” Religious laws are also sometimes binding on people.
The purpose of law is a broad one, including establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes and protecting liberties and rights. In nations, some legal systems serve these purposes better than others. For example, an authoritarian government may keep the peace and maintain the status quo, but it might oppress minorities or political opponents. A democratic government, on the other hand, may promote social change and protect individual rights.
Legal terms and concepts can be confusing, so this article provides definitions to help you understand what is being discussed. These terms are arranged alphabetically from A to Z, but some words are repeated due to their popularity or importance.
A court decision that finally determines the rights and claims of the parties in a lawsuit. A judgment is based on evidence presented by both sides, including testimony from witnesses and written documents such as contracts, pleadings, and other writings. An attorney’s protest that challenges a statement or question in a trial. Lawyers often use objections to prevent a judge from hearing irrelevant or improper evidence or to avoid wasting time with unnecessary questions.