Law is the collection of rules made by a government that citizens must follow or face punishment. In some places this includes fines and imprisonment, depending on the law broken. There are also laws regulating things that affect everyone, such as the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. Some people study law, or are lawyers, which is a job that involves advising people about the law and representing them in court.
There are a lot of different kinds of law, but some are more important than others. Criminal law deals with activities that are against the social order, such as murder or theft. Civil law governs things like property, contracts and marriage. Other areas that have laws are regulation, taxes, business and censorship.
The idea of law is often rooted in religion. Some religious communities have detailed legal systems based on their scriptures, such as the Jewish Halakha and Islamic Shari’ah. Other cultures have a more traditional concept of law, such as the Inuit people who live in the Arctic. The Inuit have a view of law that does not divide reality into natural and non-natural/human, which has led to some conflict between their way of viewing the world and Western perceptions of what is’real’.
A person can make their own laws, which are often called bylaws, but there is also a lot of law that is written down and enforced by courts or other governments. Some of the most important types of law are the ten commandments, the Geneva Conventions and the UN Declaration of Human Rights.
Other kinds of law include civil law, administrative law, criminal law and common law. Civil law is the main kind of law in most countries, and it deals with disputes between individuals or organisations. Civil law can be divided into a number of different areas, including torts (unfair or unfair treatment), contract law, property law and company law.
Another type of law is administrative law, which deals with the operation of the government and its agencies. It can include the management of public services, such as electricity, gas and water, which are all regulated in most countries. Administrative law can also refer to the rules that govern the operation of companies, such as employment laws and environmental regulations.
In scientific terms, a law is a rule that says that a certain kind of process always leads to a particular result. For example, the law of gravity means that objects fall down, and the law of conservation of energy states that some kind of energy must be added to a system to keep it working. Other scientific laws describe phenomena, such as the speed of light. Laws can be reshaped by new ideas, as happened with the law of diminishing returns. This reshaped thinking on the extension of state power, which Max Weber and other scholars reshaped. In contemporary society, a growing range of social problems is being tackled by specialised government departments and agencies.