Law can be defined in various ways: (a) as a regime for ordering society, (b) as a collection of rules, or (c) as a process for making decisions. To understand the role law plays in society, one must consider the different theories about law, different ways in which law is developed and applied, and a discussion about the sources of law. There are several different systems of law or legal culture, and there are a number of different philosophical approaches to law—systems of jurisprudence—that seek to define in broader terms what law is. This entry touches on many of these to provide an overview.

Sources of Law and Legal Rules

The sources of what the law is are generally similar across cultures and jurisdictions. In his ...

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