Understanding the Basics of Law


Law is a system of rules that govern the behavior of individuals, communities and governments. Legal systems are often used to resolve disputes between people and to make sure that everyone lives in a peaceful society.

The term “law” is derived from the Latin word, legio, which means law. The word is most commonly used in the New Testament to refer to the Mosaic law (Matthew 5:17; 7:12; 22:36; Luke 10:26; 24:44).

There are several ways that a person can gain rights in a legal context. One way is through judicial decisions that directly bestow rights, known as acts of law.

Another method is through a person gaining rights by exercising their own freedom of action and/or through agreements (typically contracts) with others.

These rights can be either “rights in personam” or “rights in rem”. The first type of right is often associated with the law of obligations, such as contracts and trusts, where a person gains a claim against someone else for a specific and definite amount.

In rem rights are a form of claim, privilege or power that relates to a specific person or persons (typically the promisor or executor). The content of these claims and powers varies, but generally relate to some aspect of that person’s life or estate.

These rights are usually preemptory, that is, they can be qualitatively above other reasons pertaining as to whether or not to ph. For example, rights can prevail over utilitarian considerations even when they are essentially in conflict with them (Dworkin 1977; Lyons 1982). The tension between legal rights and the common good is one of the most important issues that scholars have addressed about law.