Law is the system of rules that a particular place or authority recognizes as regulating the actions of its citizens. It is fascinating and powerful, shapes how societies govern themselves, provides a framework of justice, order and progress and is one of the fundamental aspects of civilization.
The law evolves through time and can be amended as society changes. It is a complex area of study because it encompasses many different kinds of laws, for example, administrative law concerns the operation of government agencies; intellectual property law deals with the rights people have over things they create, such as copyright, patents and trademarks; tort law helps citizens to claim compensation when someone else has hurt them or damaged their belongings; labour law deals with the tripartite relationship between worker, employer and trade union; civil and criminal procedure concern how trials and appeals are conducted; and evidence law determines which materials are admissible in court.
The study of law involves an in-depth understanding of the history of legal systems and the way in which they operate in practice. It also involves a deep exploration of how the different branches of the legal system interact, for example, in common law jurisdictions judicial decisions are explicitly acknowledged as “law” on an equal footing with legislative statutes and executive regulations. This is because of the principle of stare decisis, which states that the decision of higher courts binds lower courts in similar cases to assure consistency and stability of the law.