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Law is an umbrella term for the written or understood rules that concern behaviors within and between societies and the appropriate consequences thereof.


  • First Law of Law: You can't invent the wheel without bending the rules.
  • The one great principle of the English law is, to make business for itself.
  • We must not make a scarecrow of the law,
    Setting it up to fear the birds of prey,
    And let it keep one shape, till custom make it
    Their perch and not their terror.
  • The rule of law can be wiped out in one misguided, however will-intentioned generation. And if that should happen, it could take a century of striving and ordeal to restore it, and then only at the cost of the lives of many good men and women.
  • The law is a sort of hocus-pocus science, that smiles in yer face while it picks yer pocket; and the glorious uncertainty of it is of mair use to the professors than the justice of it.
  • Because the laws of this country do not prevent the strong from crushing the weak.
    • Woodrow Wilson, The New Freedom: A Call For the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People.
  • Necessity creates the law,—it supersedes rules; and whatever is reasonable and just in such cases is likewise legal.
    • William Scott, 1st Baron Stowell, The Gratitude (1801), 3 Rob. Adm. Rep. 240. Note that "The Gratitude" is the name of a legal case in admiralty, such cases being styled by the name of the vessel at issue.
  • The law isn't perfect. Neither are the people who've created it. But it's been made with the endless effort to do good.
    • Takeshi Kaga as Soichiro Yagami, "Death Note: The Last Name" (2006).


  • The law is a trade secret and the public process a business owned and operated by the legal profession.
    • Patrick Eberhart
  • Technology is a sprinter, the law is a marathon runner.
    • A.K.T. Rex
  • There is no jewel in the world comparable to learning; no learning so excellent as knowledge of laws.
  • The law is what it is - a majestic edifice, sheltering all of us, each stone of which rests on another.
  • Fragile as reason is and limited as law is as the institutionalized medium of reason, that's all we have standing between us and the tyranny of mere will and the cruelty of unbridled, undisciplined feeling.
    • Justice Felix Frankfurter.
  • If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made.
  • Instead of the law serving the people, it is the people that serve the law.
  • Legislate in haste, repent at leisure.
    • proverb
  • No great idea in its beginning can ever be within the law. How can it be within the law? The law is stationary. The law is fixed. The law is a chariot wheel which binds us all regardless of conditions or place or time.
  • So you think the police foresees and knows everything. The police invents more than it discovers.
  • A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.
  • Executing a murderer is the only way to adequately express our horror at the taking of an innocent life. Nothing else suffices. To equate the lives of killers with those of victims is the worst kind of moral equivalency. If capital punishment is state murder, then imprisonment is state kidnapping and restitution is state theft.
    • Don Feder
  • It is not the responsibility of the government or the legal system to protect a citizen from himself.
    • Justice Casey Percell
  • More laws can't make us safe from the tragedies that are the inevitable result of freedom, and of living around other people. Life is real, life is uncertain, life is inevitably unsafe. Measures to make it safe at all costs come with dangers of their own.
    • Brian Doherty
  • There are no good laws except simple laws.
    • Chrétien de Malesherbes (1775)
  • No brilliance is required in law, just common sense and relatively clean fingernails.
  • Morality cannot be legislated but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart but they can restrain the heartless.
  • One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.
  • Land is built by law.
    • Old Swedish Law book
  • We live in and by the law. It makes us what we are: citizens and employees and doctors and spouses and people who own things. It is sword, shield, and menace: we insist on our wage, or refuse to pay our rent, or are forced to forfeit penalties, or are closed up in jail, all in the name of what our abstract and ethereal sovereign, the law, has decreed. And we argue about what it has decreed, even when the books that are supposed to record its commands and directions are silent; we act then as if law had muttered its doom, too low to be heard distinctly. We are subjects of law's empire, liegemen to its methods and ideals, bound in spirit while we debate what we must therefore do.
  • Once you attempt legislation upon religious grounds, you open the way for every kind of intolerance and religious persecution.
  • If a law is unjust, we owe it to our children to disobey.
  • Let all the laws be clear, uniform and precise. To interpret laws is almost always to corrupt them.
  • Tis much more prudence to acquit two persons, though actually guilty, than to pass sentence of condemnation on one that is virtuous and innocent.
  • Prisoner: I want to ask whether it is likely —
    Arabin: We have nothing to do with what is likely or unlikely: so many unlikely things happen in courts of justice that public time must not be wasted on such enquiries.
    • Commissioner Serjeant William Arabin, quoted by Stephen Tumim in Great Legal Fiascos, page 115.
    • Arabin's surreal absurdities from the bench at the Old Bailey in the early 1800s made him a cult figure among young barristers.
  • Laws are only observed with the consent of the individuals concerned and a moral change still depends on the individual and not on the passage of any law.
  • Laws: We know what they are, and what they are worth! They are spider webs for the rich and mighty, steel chains for the poor and weak, fishing nets in the hands of government.
  • The Law is the true embodiment,
    Of everything that's excellent,
    It has no kind of fault or flaw,
    And I, my Lords, embody the Law.
  • Who ever knew an honest brute/ at law his neighbor prosecute?

See also

External links

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