What Is Law and Why Is It Important?


Law is a system of rules enacted and enforced by government and social institutions. Its purpose is to establish and protect individual rights, to protect minorities from majorities, and to promote social justice and orderly social change. There are many different legal systems, some of which serve these purposes better than others. Authoritarian governments often use law to suppress their political opponents and minorities. In some common law jurisdictions, laws are created by judges or by the executive through decrees. Private individuals may also create legal contracts or arbitration agreements.

Regulation is a branch of law that deals with the provision of public goods and services. Examples of this include water law. Privatisation has shifted some services out of the hands of government, but the private companies that now do these jobs are bound by varying degrees of social responsibility. Some examples of regulated industries include energy, gas, water, telecomms, and transport.

The power to create and enforce laws is directly related to political power. Even though military power is often necessary to command political power, it is not easy to carry out a successful revolution. Nevertheless, revolts against political-legal authority are a common theme in politics. Hence, the political landscape differs from one nation to another.

Rule of Law is an important political ideal. It has long been a central ideal in the political tradition. Modern understandings of the rule of law can never be adequately assessed without reference to its historical heritage.

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