What is Law?


Law (sometimes referred to as legal rule or legal norm) is a set of principles that govern the way things should be done. Typically these are made by a government, which citizens have to follow or they can be punished.

Generally, there are many different types of laws, but some are more important than others. Examples include the laws against stealing and murder.

The term “law” can also mean a set of rules that people must follow, such as what they are allowed to do in a certain place or country. For example, if you are caught stealing you could be put in jail or fined.


A legal right is a claim, privilege, power, or immunitie that is legally recognized and vests in someone or something.

These can be in personam or in rem, with the former referring to rights that designate specific and definite right-objects.

In the law of obligations, creditors hold claims against debtors to pay their debts; privileges to collect or not collect debts; powers to forgive debts; and, immunities from other private parties unilaterally waiving or annulling those respective claims, privileges, and powers.

Those who hold rights, on the other hand, are not necessarily able to exercise or enjoy them fully in practice (Wellman 1995: 202). The concept of a right is often used to describe “normative boundaries” or normative limits that exclude certain situations or activities from their applicability.

There are a number of reasons for this, including that legal rights are preemptory and defeasible, stringent in their scope of trumpability and in their demands of duties grounded in them.

The idea of a right is also thought to be antithetical to the promotion of the common good and, sometimes, the collective good (Dworkin 1977: xi, 91; Sumner 1987: 70-79; Jones 1994: 50-61).

One such reason is that rights tend to conflict with practical reasoning, i.e., when the conditions of their application are incompatible (Wellman 1995: 202-203).

Another reason for this is that legal rights are not always “justified” by their underlying purposes (Raz 1986: 181). Instead, they can seem to figure both as outcomes and as reasons, even in the same legal decision or legal context (Raz 1986: 183; Wellman 1995: 251-255; Kamm 2002: 489-499).

This is an interesting and somewhat puzzling combination of Hohfeldian relations. It is not uncommon to have a right of one normative kind to violate a duty of the other normative kind.

This is a very interesting concept and I think it’s really important to understand. It’s just that it’s hard to understand what it means.