Law is an orderly system of rules developed and administered by social or legal institutions to legally regulate behavior, with the precise definition being a matter of customary agreement. In some jurisdictions it is part of the civil law. In other jurisdictions it is an element of criminal law. In both parts of the world, the law is used to resolve disputes involving private citizens, organizations or government agencies.
In United States law, the definition of law is relatively simple. It is a body of law that controls conduct in the courts. Within the field of civil law, there are several different types of law including private law, federal law, litigation law, real estate law, family law, probate law, corporate law, patent law, and commercial law. Each type of law has various aspects such as criminal law, administrative law, admiralty law, corporate law, real property law, family law, tort law, property law, equity law, tax law, and trusts law. Each of these different types of law is relevant to various aspects of individual and business life. As you study law you will be introduced to various definitions and their effect on various subjects.
The difficulty in understanding the law is that there are various definitions depending upon which jurisdiction you come from. For instance, the New York definition of corporation refers to any company authorized to do business in the state. The Texas definition of corporation refers to a corporation, limited liability company, or unincorporated partnership. If you have come from a natural school, you would be expected to understand that corporations are created by men (corporations were created by the male population). It is important to remember that corporate laws are often very harsh, so if you have not done your homework, you may be opening yourself up for trouble.
The traditional view of law is that it is a descriptive body of knowledge grounded in tradition and sanctioned by the state. Historically, this knowledge was passed down from generation to generation within the boundaries of familial obligation and institution. This tradition of law is known as judicial law. Although the family has always been a source of authoritative knowledge, the history of judicial law and its development in Europe, Latin America, and Japan has also led to an expansive view of what is possible and what is right. Although this view of law has become increasingly flexible over time, a core concept remains, which is that the state has an interest in providing just compensation to victims of crimes.
Historically, this concept is derived from the idea that society must have some means of preventing crime from occurring. The criminal justice system is thus instituted to prevent crime. The criminal justice system thus defines the norms that a society considers acceptable. According to the pure theory of law, such norm formulation merely entails reciprocity, and nothing more. Thus, although there may be different opinions on the definition of justice itself, the historical law definition states that it is simply a norm that a society attaches to itself.
Historically, however, this concept has been extended by defenders of liberty to include the protection of basic rights. According to the pure theory, all individuals have the right to act on their own, regardless of the effects that they may have upon others. Furthermore, according to this view, the distribution of societal goods and services also does not serve to the benefit of any particular group, but rather every individual equally. Under this theory, the only way to ensure that the interests of the many are served is through the legal framework that exists. The historical law definition states that the legal system exists to be just for each and every person, and not for the interests of any particular group.