Law is a set of rules made by a government and enforced through police, courts and legal systems. Its goal is to maintain order and justice in society. Law has existed for thousands of years, evolving from primitive customs and traditions to complex systems. Despite its complexity, the idea of law remains simple: people must obey it or be punished.
While the term “law” is most often associated with governments, it can also be used to describe any strong rule that must be followed. For example, parents might use the term “law” to describe the strict rules that their children must follow at home. The word can also be applied to behaviour that is instinctive or spontaneous, such as trying to save someone’s life when it is in danger – this type of action is commonly called a ‘natural law’.
The concept of law can be broken down into several core subjects, although they often overlap and interact. For example, labor law involves the three-way relationship between employer, worker and trade union, which includes negotiating wages and terms of employment and the right to strike. Tort law deals with the compensation of victims whose property or personal integrity has been harmed, whether through an automobile accident or by defamation. Criminal law relates to punishments for crimes such as robbery and murder.
In addition, the subject of law can be expanded to include a wide range of social and economic issues. For instance, property law involves the ownership and control of property, such as houses and cars. Tax law covers the collection and administration of taxes, including value added tax, corporate tax and income tax. Banks are regulated by banking law, and financial regulation establishes rules for banks to follow in order to avoid crisis like the Wall Street Crash of 1929.
The complexity of law reflects the wide range of social issues that it covers. For example, it can be argued that the law should provide a level playing field for all citizens, irrespective of social class or economic status. However, the reality is that the law has many limitations that make it difficult to achieve this objective. For example, it is not possible for the law to mandate behaviors that are impossible or force people to do things they would not want to do – this is beyond the scope of what can be legally enforced. It is for this reason that the philosophy of law needs to be reshaped to reflect new realities.