Traditionally, law has been defined as the rules that govern human behavior. However, the precise definition of law remains a subject of debate.
In some societies, the term “law” is used to describe a set of rules that governs a particular subject, such as the law of marriage or property law. In other societies, the term is used to describe a set of social rules.
In modern societies, the practice of law is usually overseen by government or by a specialized legal body. However, in some instances, people may choose to practice law in their own capacity. In these cases, a special qualification is required. This qualification is typically earned by obtaining a degree such as a Bachelor of Civil Law or a Master of Legal Studies.
The practice of law typically involves a regulating body and a competent team of impartial, independent representatives. In some cases, the laws are enforced by governmental institutions, such as the courts.
In common law legal systems, courts explicitly acknowledge the decisions of the executive branch as “law.” This doctrine is known as “precedent.” Therefore, a decision by the court on one case binds future decisions of the same court.
The concept of “natural law” emerged in ancient Greek philosophy and then re-entered mainstream culture through the writings of Thomas Aquinas. In some religious communities, religious law is explicitly based on religious precepts.
Law also serves as a mediator of relations between people. For example, law can regulate migrant labour and drug trafficking. Law also serves to protect minorities against majorities. In addition, law helps keep the peace in a nation. Law is constantly changing, as new laws are enacted and old laws are repealed.