Law is a set of rules that are created and enforced by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. Its precise definition is a matter of longstanding debate, with law variously described as a science and as the art of justice. Law can be applied in a wide variety of settings. Its four principal purposes are establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes, and protecting liberties and rights.
Legal terminology includes terms such as:
arraignment – A court proceeding in which an accused person is brought before the judge and told of the charges against him or her. The person can then choose to plead guilty or not guilty.
case law – The use of previous court decisions to determine how other laws should be applied to a particular situation. For example, a judge might refer to a decision of the Supreme Court in deciding a case before him.
court reporter – A person who makes a word-for-word record of proceedings in a trial and provides copies upon request.
counterclaim – A claim by one party against another made within the same lawsuit.
jury pool – The group of people from which actual jurors are chosen for a case. Lawyers for the parties in a lawsuit select the actual jurors from the pool through a process called voir dire.
power – The capacity to alter normative landscapes through volitional action; in law, the capacity to change legal positions, relations, and norms (e.g., Hohfeld 1919: 50-57). Power can be public or private.