Law is a set of rules that govern the way people act in society. It includes a wide range of topics, including rights and duties, property, and business and social relationships.
The word “law” is often used interchangeably with the words “rule” and “system,” but there are important distinctions to be made. In order to fully understand the concept of law, it is necessary to have a clear understanding of its definition and purpose.
A body of rules enacted by the government for the regulation and protection of society; it ensures, implements, and enforces the rights of individuals, resolving conflicts between them. It also facilitates individual choices and gives legal effects to these choices.
It is a means of social control, in that it serves the interests of the society; its coercive nature makes it effective in satisfying certain purposes. It also serves as a vehicle for the expression of political philosophy, economic interests, and ethical values in a system of history, tradition, and legal technique.
In the modern world, it is primarily a tool of social engineering, where conflicting pulls of political philosophy, economic interests, and ethical value constantly struggle for recognition against a background of history, tradition, and legal technique.
Various types of laws exist, such as criminal and civil law. The former consists of prohibitions against wrongful acts and penalties for them, and the latter relates to the rights and duties of individuals towards each other.
There are also several types of laws that come from the legislative and judicial branches of government, such as statutes, executive orders, and decisions of courts. In addition, there are laws that come from the informal sources of the legal system such as the customs and practices of a specific society or group of individuals.
Legislative codes are compiled of all laws passed by the legislatures (the legislative branch of government). These are sometimes called slip laws and are then placed into bound volumes called session laws.
These are a great source of laws that have been enacted by the legislatures in the United States. They are available in the Reserve Reading Room and on Lexis Advance, Westlaw, and other legal research platforms.
Treatises are scholarly publications focusing on an area of law, often making up multiple volumes. They provide in-depth discussion with references to primary sources.
They are a great resource for those new to an area of law or for students interested in conducting more detailed legal research. These books are typically arranged alphabetically and include footnotes to statutes, case law, and other primary authority on the subject.
Restatements are a series of books that summarize the laws of a particular area of law, such as contracts, evidence, and torts. They are a great resource for those new or inexperienced with an area of law, and they are typically arranged alphabetically and included in multi-volume sets.
In general, legal research materials can be classified into three main categories: dictionaries, encyclopedias, and treatises. Each of these groups contains information relating to different aspects of law, including its history and development. Each category has a variety of formats, from paper to electronic.