The law is a set of rules that a particular place or authority creates and enforces to ensure that everyone behaves in a safe and fair way. People who break the laws can be punished (for example, with fines or prison). There are lots of different kinds of law:
One of the most important purposes of any legal system is to make sure that everybody has a fair chance of getting what they need and want from life. This is sometimes called social justice.
Another purpose is to protect people and things that are very valuable or special, from harm or loss. This is often called civil rights. There are also many types of law that help to make sure that businesses operate fairly and efficiently. Examples of these include tax and employment law. The law can also cover the ways in which people use and own property, such as cars and houses. There is even a law that sets out the rules for when a person can drive and how fast they should be driving.
The legal system can be complicated. There are lots of different types of law and some countries have different legal systems. For example, some countries have a system of common law while others have a civil law system.
Whether it is common or civil law, the legal system usually has a court that decides what the law is. There is also a higher authority, known as a supreme court, that has the power to remove laws that go against the constitution.
Most countries have laws that are created by parliament or the government. But the law can also be made by judges who decide on cases that are brought to them. Judges can also give advice to the parliament or government about what the law should be.
In some places there is a system of appeals, so that the decision of the highest court can be overturned if it is wrong. Some places have a system of jury trials, which means that the people who are charged with a crime have to defend themselves by telling the judge about what happened and why they are not guilty.
The legal system reflects the ideas and needs of society. So, it changes over time. This is not just because the world and people change, but also because the ideas of philosophers and writers, such as Locke and Montesquieu, have influenced thinking about law. The law can also reflect the felt necessities of a society at a certain time, the prevalent moral and political theories, and the intuitions of public policy that are avowed or unconscious. These factors are far more influential than logic in determining the law.