The Basics of Law

Law is a set of rules created by the state that form a framework to ensure a peaceful society. It is enforced by the state and if it is broken or breached sanctions can be imposed. It is a multifaceted concept as it can be defined from both societal and judicial viewpoints. Societal viewpoints can focus on issues of rationality, morality and order and judicial views can focus on the process of lawmaking.

The law has many aspects, including criminal, civil, constitutional, administrative, international and trust laws. These are categorized according to their scope, with contracts and property being governed by private law systems, torts falling under civil law and criminal and constitutional law being part of public law systems. The laws are not static and they change in response to new social needs.

Those changes may involve changing the existing law or creating new laws to deal with specific problems. For example, laws may be changed to accommodate new technology, address environmental concerns or deal with the effects of aging populations. Similarly, new laws may be created to protect the rights of minors or individuals with mental disabilities.

Different countries classify their laws differently. The core subjects of law, such as crime, civil, international, property and contract laws are similar across most legal systems. But some countries differentiate between private and public law, with the former being more associated with a commercial or private grouping, while the latter is strongly associated with a government and includes criminal, constitutional, administrative and trust laws.

Laws are made by humans and are interpreted by other humans, primarily judges and attorneys. Because of this, the interpretation of a law will often vary from person to person. This is due to the fact that humans are not perfect and, in most cases, neither judges nor attorneys are perfect.

Once a law is passed, it will typically be incorporated into the United States Code. The United States Code is divided into titles, with each title focusing on a particular subject. Each title is further broken down into chapters, subchapters, parts, sections and paragraphs. The United States Code is a massive legal document that can be very difficult to navigate, but it is a resource to use when researching laws on specific topics.

Some laws, such as those pertaining to aviation and railroads, are regulated at the federal level and preempt all state law in that area. In other areas, like insurance or employment law, federal statutes and regulations coexist with a large body of state-level law. In some areas, such as family law, the federal law may override the state law.