Law is a system of rules that govern crime, business agreements and social relationships. It involves many professions and is an important part of a society’s system of government.
The word “law” comes from Latin, and means “to rule”. In some countries, laws are created by the government, and citizens must follow them or face punishment.
Legal systems vary from nation to nation and from area to area, with different types of laws covering a wide range of subjects. The subject areas of law can be divided into three main categories, although they intertwine and overlap.
Constitutional law (law of the land) consists of regulations passed by governments and which apply to the entire country. Criminal law regulates the way crimes are punishable, and also includes the rights of individuals to be free from harm or to receive compensation.
Civil law focuses on the rules that govern how courts are supposed to act in a trial or appeal. This can include evidence, which materials can be used to build a case and the procedure for trials and hearings.
Courts use the term “law” to refer to court decisions as well as statutes or rules issued by the government. These decisions are often based on the doctrine of precedent, which means that courts will follow past decisions to ensure similar cases reach similar results.
Examples of the people who work in this field are lawyers, judges, prosecutors and victim advocates. Lawyers represent people in court, whereas prosecutors prosecute criminal cases on behalf of the government.