Law is the system of rules a country or community recognizes as regulating their members’ actions. Its precise definition is a matter of longstanding debate, but most scholars agree that it includes rules devised by human beings that they deem to be in their best interest.
When people disagree about something—such as who owns a piece of property—they turn to the law to resolve the conflict. The law ensures that everyone’s rights are respected and that society is peaceful and orderly. It also makes sure that police and government officials carry out their duties in line with the law.
Legal systems vary from country to country, and even within a single nation, but they do share some similarities based on historically accepted justice ideals. The most common groups of legal systems are: common law; civil law; religious law; and customary law. Some countries employ more than one of these systems at the same time, creating a hybrid system.
The rule of law is a fundamental international norm that requires all public and private actors, including the State itself, to comply with laws that are clear, publicly promulgated, stable, and evenly enforced, and reflect the needs and values of local communities. The principle is essential to achieving peace and security, economic development, and social progress and equity. It can be strengthened through adherence to international standards and norms related to the supremacy of the law, equality before the law, independence of the judiciary, and transparency in decision-making.