The Importance of Law

The Importance of Law


Law is the system of rules that governs the relationships among people and between individuals and their things. It is a vital component of human society. It provides order and safety, preserves personal rights and ensures fair treatment in the distribution of property, money and services. It also keeps governments, companies and other entities from exploitation and abuse. Law enables society to cope with conflict, and it can also promote social change by helping to define the rules that should apply in a particular situation or by making an issue illegal to encourage its removal from a culture.

Among the most important purposes of law are maintaining peace, keeping the status quo, preserving individual rights, protecting minorities against majorities, ensuring social justice and providing for orderly social change. A legal system that is fair, open, predictable and transparent provides the strongest foundation for a country to sustain these goals. The law may be written or unwritten and it can be general or specific, covering such diverse subjects as contract law, constitutional law, criminal law, family law, immigration laws, intellectual property law, and tax law.

In the broad sense, “law” includes all the laws and codes devised by man and based on natural or human law or revelation (Scripture). These human laws are a subset of the universal law ordained by the Creator in nature and revealed in Scripture. Thomas Jefferson defined this objective legal order as the “laws of nature and of nature’s God.”

Law also refers to a legal field that describes all the aspects of the practice of law, including legal training and ethical obligations. For more on this, see law profession; legal education; and legal ethics. Law also applies to the field of government, which is governed by constitutional law and other federal and state statutes. See Constitutional government; democracy; democracies; and dictatorships.

A legal system can also be defined by the way it treats its citizens, especially its leaders and those who enforce the law. A legal system that is not impartial, transparent or accountable can deteriorate to the point where it no longer functions well for its citizens. The rule of law requires adherence to the laws of the land, respect for the rights of all, freedom of expression and religion, and equality before the law.

The law is an ever-changing and complex set of rules that influences every aspect of our lives. Some of these laws are global; others are regional or local. It is important for us to understand how law evolves and how it can impact our daily life. Laws can be created and interpreted in many different ways, which makes the study of law a fascinating endeavor. This article is intended to provide a comprehensive overview of the field. For more in-depth studies of individual topics, see related articles on the topic, such as agency; air law; bankruptcy; business law; contract law; criminal law; civil law; family law; labor law; maritime law; medical jurisprudence; and property law.