What Is Law?
Law is the system of rules a society or government develops in order to deal with crime, business agreements, and social relationships. It can also refer to the people who work in this field. The precise nature of this system is a matter of intense debate, but most agree that it is a set of principles that regulate behavior and ensure the protection of human rights.
The legal system is typically based on precedents that have been established over time. Whether they are accurate or not, these precedents often shape the criteria that a judge and jury use to interpret a case. Consequently, many past decisions continue to influence future rulings until societal changes prompt a judicial body to overturn them.
As a result of this, law can appear to be inherently arbitrary or unfair. This is especially true when a minority group feels they are being unfairly marginalized or disempowered by the law. For example, if a woman is accused of murder, the victim’s family could argue that the jury should disregard the evidence presented by the prosecution and find her not guilty. This would not only violate her rights, but it would also taint the reputation of the judiciary.
A right-holder has a claim-right against the object of the right if and only if that object is correlative to a duty owed to her by another (Raz 1970: 175). These rights are often associated with the law of obligations (contracts, trusts, and parts of torts) or with securing the affinity between a person and a property (e.g., estate, property, or inheritance).
Law regularly bestows legal rights even when it is unclear or underdetermined what duties correlate to them, for example, through a will (or choice), a forfeiture, consent, appointment, or last will and testament. It is also common for law to impose rights against persons even though their corresponding duties are not yet in place, such as when a court awards a child survivor of a parent’s death a portion of their estate.
Moreover, rights may also manifest as privileges or powers, and can be either in personam or in rem. In the former, the content of the right designates a person or persons; for example, a person has a right in their good name. In the latter, the content of the right designates