What is Law?


Law is a set of rules created and enforced by social or governmental institutions to regulate behaviour, its precise definition being a matter of longstanding debate. Law is a part of human culture and therefore cannot be empirically verified; it relies on humans to interpret, implement and apply. Law includes both rules that impose duties on individuals and the state, as well as the principles of fairness in judgment, equality before the law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty and avoidance of arbitrariness.

In the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, the term “law” focuses on the commands and regulations of the Mosaic covenant and its emphasis on what God demands that His people do rather than what they cannot do (cf. Matthew 5:17). Similarly, in modern language, the word law is often used to refer to a particular area of jurisprudence or to a specific set of rules.

The subject of law extends into virtually every aspect of society and covers all areas of human activity. For example, labour law is concerned with the tripartite relationship of worker, employer and trade union. It involves collective bargaining regulation and the right to strike. Administrative law deals with the way a government administers itself and its agencies. Criminal law deals with the justice system and the punishment of criminals. Civil procedure and evidence law deal with the rules that courts must follow as they carry out trials and hearings.