Law is the set of rules that a society or government develops to regulate crime, business agreements, and social relationships. It can also refer to a specific branch of law, such as criminal or civil law. Law can also refer to the legal profession, including judges, lawyers, and clerks.
The precise nature of law has been the subject of much debate. Among scholars, it is usually divided into two broad categories: public law and private law. Public law concerns the legal rights of citizens, such as their right to freedom and privacy; it deals with questions of justice and morality. Private law, on the other hand, deals with disputes between individuals and organizations (e.g., contracts, torts, and property).
A number of different theories have been put forward to explain what law is. One theory is that law is a collective story held by a community, which tells a common narrative about the world. The community’s story is based on people’s experiences (broadly defined to include first hand experiences, stories they have heard, etc.). The deviation between an individual’s tale and the community’s is a measure of how binding the story is.
Another view is that law is a system of rules that is created by and enforced by the state, which forms a framework for ensuring a peaceful society. When these rules are broken, sanctions can be imposed. This view is sometimes referred to as the Robertisan view of law. However, there are few living cultures that use this concept of law, and it has not proved to be particularly useful in defining the law.