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Before considering how law is interpreted and the role it plays in a society we need to be clear about what we mean when we refer to ‘law’. What is ‘law’, how do we know it exists and how is it defined? By asking you to think about what you mean when you use the word ‘law’, we are asking you to draw upon your own knowledge, views and experience. The ‘law’ is rarely out of the news and is often the focus for fictional drama. It is something that touches our lives on a daily basis, it governs what we can and cannot do, it is used to settle disputes, to punish and to govern. There are laws which are widely accepted and laws which generate controversy. Laws play a central role in society and in social, political and economic life.