Law is all the rules that govern a society and its relationships. It is a huge subject, but the core of law includes the principles of fairness and justice, and the systems of governance that uphold these principles. It also includes the many professions that help people to understand laws and how they work, including lawyers and judges.
A good law system is one that ensures that people receive fair treatment, that they are protected from harmful actions by other individuals and businesses, and that they can make changes in the legal environment to suit their own needs. It is a system that guarantees the independence of the judiciary, the transparency of government officials’ decision-making, and the integrity of legal institutions. It is a system that prevents abuses of power, provides checks and balances on government power, and allows for democratic processes in decision-making.
Some modern theorists of the Rule of Law see law as a set of relatively stable general rules that are publicly accessible and operate impersonally. They are often criticized for thinking that these rules must be universally applicable, but this is partly because the sense of the Rule of Law also conveys the idea that law should not operate in ways that favour particular groups over others.
For example, the Rule of Law requires that civil systems be clear about how cases can be brought to court, their procedures, and what constitutes an offense. The Rule of Law also requires that laws are not secret or retrospective, and that they apply in a way that is non-discriminatory.