The Basics of Law


Law is the system of rules that a particular country or community recognizes as binding upon its members and that is enforced through a central authority. It covers everything from fundamental human rights to contract and property law, including all areas of public and private life. Oxford Reference provides comprehensive, authoritative and accessible coverage of law from a variety of viewpoints, from Max Weber’s sociology of law to legal philosophy, history, and theory.

The legal system enforces laws, which are commands, backed by the threat of sanctions from a sovereign authority that people have a habit of obeying. It is the means by which a society controls its conflicts, regulates its relationships and protects its citizens.

Generally, law is written and enforced through a legislative branch of government. However, the legal system also includes administrative and regulatory agencies. These agencies typically interpret, apply and develop the laws through the use of case law, a practice of interpreting precedents from previous decisions.

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