The law is a system of rules set up by an authority, a government, that citizens must obey. It also tells us how we are supposed to behave and what happens if you break these rules. It can be as simple as not stealing or it can be as complex as deciding whether or not someone should go to jail for something they did.
A wide variety of theorists have described what law is. It is generally agreed that the law is an institution designed to promote social justice and to provide orderly social change. Some systems of law do better than others at these goals.
Roman Jurists and other ancient jurists defined law in its idealistic nature. Salmond’s definition of law is that “the law may be defined as the body of principles recognized and applied by the state in the administration of justice”.
Dias defines law as a normative science, which lays down what people ought to do in a certain situation or circumstance enforceable through sanction. This is an important distinction from a positive law, which dictates what you can do or not do, and a deontological law, which deals with the duties of an individual to his employer or his country.
There are many different areas of law, but essentially they all serve the same four purposes; establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes and protecting liberties and rights. Most of us would agree that the first and last of these are primarily concerned with the protection of individuals. The rest are mostly concerned with ensuring that society can survive, for example, by keeping the peace and maintaining social stability.