What is Law?

Law is the set of legal rules that are created and enforced by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It is a broad term and has different meanings depending on the context.

Laws serve many purposes:

Keep the peace, maintain the status quo, preserve individual rights, protect minorities against majorities, promote social justice, and provide for orderly social change.

Criminal laws – Public and Private

Each state has its own criminal code. Federal criminal law is codified in Title 18 of the U.S. Constitution.

Statutes – Public and Private

A statute is a law that has been passed by Congress. It is a formalized description of how the government should work.

Rights – In Personam and in Rem

A right is a claim, privilege, power, or immunity. A right can be in personam, which designates a specific and definite right-object, or in rem, which refers to the correlative duty owed to an object of a legal right.

The four Hohfeldian positions on the nature of rights are “claim-right,” “normative right,” “in rem,” and “absolute right.” In general, a claim-right is a legal right that entitles the subject of a legal right to a particular ph only when he is under a duty to ph owed to X (Kamm 2002: 476). A normative right is a right that entitles the subject of the right to a particular ph irrespective of whether X has a duty to ph owed directly to Y.