The Most Useful Laws to Know: A Helpful Ranking

Choose the laws you think is the most useful!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 20, 2024 06:17
Welcome to StrawPoll, where your opinions matter! Our latest ranking delves into the fascinating world of law, as we seek to uncover the most useful laws everyone should know. We've compiled a comprehensive list that touches on diverse aspects of daily life, from the essential to the unexpected, and we need your votes to determine which laws rise to the top. So, roll up your sleeves, channel your inner legal eagle, and dive into this exciting journey of legal discovery. Don’t forget to cast your vote for your favorite law, or if you think we've missed something crucial, feel free to suggest an addition. Together, we'll create the ultimate legal knowledge hub that empowers and enlightens our StrawPoll community.

What Are the Most Useful Laws to Know?

  1. 1
    This is the supreme law of the United States and is the foundation of all other laws. It outlines the structure of government and the rights and freedoms of citizens.
    The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is a document that outlines the framework and principles of the federal government, establishes the three branches of government, and delineates the rights and responsibilities of the citizens.
    • Ratification: The Constitution was ratified by conventions held in eleven of the thirteen states on June 21, 1788.
    • Amendments: The Constitution has been amended 27 times. The first ten amendments are known as the Bill of Rights.
    • Separation of Powers: The Constitution establishes three separate branches of government: the legislative branch (Congress), the executive branch (President), and the judicial branch (Supreme Court).
    • Federalism: The Constitution delineates the division of powers between the federal government and the states, establishing a federal system of government.
    • Supremacy Clause: The Constitution declares itself as the supreme law of the land, making federal law superior to state law.
  2. 2

    The Bill of Rights

    James Madison
    The first ten amendments to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights guarantees basic rights such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press.
    The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. It serves as a guarantee of individual rights and liberties to the American people, protecting them from potential governmental abuses.
    • First Amendment: Protects freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, and petition.
    • Second Amendment: Protects the right to bear arms.
    • Third Amendment: Prohibits the forced quartering of soldiers in private homes during peacetime.
    • Fourth Amendment: Protects against unreasonable searches and seizures.
    • Fifth Amendment: Guarantees due process, protection against self-incrimination, and prohibits double jeopardy.
  3. 3
    This law defines crimes and the punishments for those crimes. It is important to know what actions are illegal to avoid breaking the law unintentionally.
    Criminal law is a branch of law that governs behaviors and actions that are considered harmful or threatening to individuals or society as a whole. It establishes a framework for defining crimes, determining guilt, and imposing punishments for those found guilty.
    • Presumption of innocence: People accused of a crime are considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
    • Criminal offenses: Criminal law encompasses a wide range of offenses, including but not limited to murder, theft, assault, fraud, and drug offenses.
    • Elements of a crime: For a person to be convicted of a crime, certain elements such as a guilty act (actus reus) and a guilty mind (mens rea) must be proven.
    • Punishments: Criminal law defines various types of punishments, including fines, imprisonment, probation, community service, and in some jurisdictions, capital punishment.
    • Criminal procedure: Criminal law governs the procedures to be followed during the investigation, arrest, trial, and sentencing of individuals accused of crimes.
    Criminal Law in other rankings
  4. 4
    This law deals with disputes between individuals or organizations. It is important to know your rights and obligations in civil matters such as contracts and property disputes.
    Civil law is a legal system derived from ancient Roman law. It forms the basis of the legal systems in many countries around the world, including most of continental Europe, Latin America, and parts of Asia and Africa. Civil law is a codified system of law that is based on written legal codes, which are organized into various branches or areas of law.
    • Codification: Civil law is characterized by the codification of laws into written statutes, codes, and regulations.
    • Legal Codes: Legal codes are organized by subject matter, covering various areas of law such as civil, criminal, commercial, and administrative law.
    • Precedent: Civil law has a limited or no reliance on judicial precedent. Decisions made by higher courts may serve as persuasive authority but are not binding.
    • Legal Certainty: Civil law places a strong emphasis on legal certainty and predictability, as laws are generally derived from written codes and statutes.
    • Inquisitorial System: Civil law countries often utilize an inquisitorial system of justice, where judges play a more active role in investigating and gathering evidence.
  5. 5
    Employment Law
    Bain News Service photograph · Public domain
    This law governs the relationship between employers and employees. It includes regulations on wages, hours, and working conditions, as well as protections against discrimination and harassment.
    Employment Law is a legal framework that governs the rights and obligations of employers and employees in the workplace. It aims to provide a fair and safe working environment, promote equality and prevent discrimination in employment.
    • Minimum Wage: Sets the minimum amount that employers must pay to their employees.
    • Working Hours: Determines the maximum number of hours an employee can work in a day or week.
    • Overtime Pay: Specifies the payment rate for working beyond regular working hours.
    • Leave Entitlements: Defines various types of leaves, such as sick leave, annual leave, parental leave, and their conditions.
    • Employment Contracts: Specifies the terms and conditions of employment agreements between employers and employees.
    Employment Law in other rankings
  6. 6
    This law regulates the entry and status of foreign nationals in a country. It is important to know the requirements for legal immigration and the consequences of illegal immigration.
    Immigration Law is a body of legislation and regulations that govern the movement of people from one country to another. It outlines the rights and responsibilities of immigrants, as well as the procedures and requirements for entering, staying, and leaving a country. Immigration laws vary between countries and are influenced by factors such as national security, economic considerations, and humanitarian concerns.
    • Types of Visas: Different visas are available for various purposes such as tourism, work, study, and family reunification.
    • Admissibility: Determines the eligibility criteria for entry into a country, including factors like health, criminal history, and financial stability.
    • Border Control: Establishes rules and procedures for the management of borders, including immigration checkpoints, visa controls, and customs regulations.
    • Residency and Citizenship: Defines the requirements, processes, and privileges associated with obtaining and maintaining residency permits or citizenship status.
    • Asylum and Refugees: Outlines the procedures and protections for individuals seeking refuge or asylum due to persecution, violence, or other compelling circumstances in their home country.
    Immigration Law in other rankings
  7. 7
    This law deals with legal issues surrounding families, such as divorce, child custody, and adoption. It is important to know your rights and obligations in these matters.
  8. 8
    This law governs the ownership and use of property. It includes regulations on buying, selling, and leasing real estate, as well as intellectual property.
    Property law is a branch of civil law that regulates the various forms of ownership and rights to property. It encompasses the rules and regulations related to the acquisition, use, transfer, and protection of property.
    • Ownership Rights: Property law establishes the rights of individuals and entities to own tangible and intangible assets.
    • Real Property vs. Personal Property: It distinguishes between real property (land and buildings) and personal property (movable possessions).
    • Transfer of Property: It provides a legal framework for the buying, selling, and transferring of property.
    • Easements: Property law governs the granting and use of easements, which allow individuals to use another person's property for a specific purpose.
    • Landlord-Tenant Relationships: It establishes the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants in rental agreements.
  9. 9
    This law regulates the use and protection of natural resources and the environment. It is important to know the regulations to prevent harm to the environment and to maintain a sustainable future.
    Environmental Law refers to the body of laws and regulations created to protect and preserve the natural environment and address issues related to the conservation of natural resources, pollution control, and sustainable development.
    • Clean Air Act: Regulates air emissions from stationary and mobile sources to protect human health and the environment.
    • Clean Water Act: Establishes the basic structure for regulating and protecting the nation's water resources.
    • Endangered Species Act: Provides for the conservation of threatened and endangered plants and animals and their habitats.
    • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA): Requires federal agencies to consider the environmental impacts of their proposed actions.
    • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA): Regulates the management of hazardous and non-hazardous solid waste to ensure proper disposal and protection of human health and the environment.
    Environmental Law in other rankings
  10. 10
    This law protects consumers from unfair business practices, such as false advertising and product defects. It is important to know your rights as a consumer to ensure fair treatment.
    The Consumer Protection Law is a set of regulations and guidelines designed to protect consumers from unfair practices and ensure they have access to safe, reliable products and services. It aims to regulate business conduct and promote fair competition, enhancing consumer confidence in the marketplace.
    • Scope: The law defines the rights and responsibilities of consumers and establishes mechanisms for their protection across various sectors, including retail, e-commerce, finance, telecommunications, and more.
    • Prohibited Practices: The law prohibits deceptive advertising, fraudulent activities, misleading product labeling, unfair contract terms, price gouging, and other unethical practices that may harm consumers.
    • Product Safety: The law sets standards and safety requirements for consumer products to prevent the distribution of goods that may pose health risks, including regulations for product testing, labeling, and recalls.
    • Consumer Information: The law emphasizes the importance of providing accurate, complete, and transparent information to consumers, ensuring they can make informed choices. It may require businesses to disclose product specifications, pricing, terms, and conditions.
    • Dispute Resolution: The law establishes mechanisms for consumer complaint handling, mediation, and legal recourse, enabling consumers to seek remedies and resolve disputes with businesses. It may establish consumer protection agencies or consumer ombudsman offices.

Missing your favorite laws?


Ranking factors for useful laws

  1. Relevance
    Consider how applicable and relevant the law is to your everyday life or work. A useful law should have a direct and practical impact on your regular activities and interactions.
  2. Frequency of application
    Determine how often a certain law comes into play. A useful law would be one that is frequently encountered, either in your personal or professional life.
  3. Penalties and consequences
    Evaluate the possible penalties and consequences of not knowing or understanding the law. Laws that impose severe punishments or significant legal repercussions are important to know.
  4. Complexity
    Laws that are complex and difficult to understand may require special attention and effort to grasp. A useful law to know would be one that you can easily comprehend and apply.
  5. Rights and protections
    Prioritize laws that are designed to protect your rights and interests, as these will directly affect your quality of life and overall safety.
  6. Common misunderstandings and misconceptions
    Laws that are often misunderstood or misinterpreted can lead to frequent violations and unintended consequences. Knowing these laws not only helps you stay in compliance but also can help others by clarifying the legal issues involved.
  7. Social and ethical responsibility
    Laws concerning social and ethical responsibilities are essential to know because they dictate how society is expected to behave and maintain order.
  8. Industry-specific laws
    If you work in a specific industry or profession, you should be aware of the laws and regulations governing that area, as they will have a direct impact on your work and career.
  9. Changing legislation
    Stay informed about changing laws and regulations, especially those that can impact your personal life or profession. Keeping up-to-date with legal developments will help you stay compliant and aware of any potential issues that may arise.
  10. Regional and local laws
    Be aware of the laws specific to the area where you live or work. Different regions and localities may have unique legal requirements that could impact you directly.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most useful laws to know. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or law is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 173 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each law once every 24 hours. The rank of each law is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


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More information on most useful laws to know

Understanding the laws that govern our society is crucial for every citizen. While it can be overwhelming to comprehend the vast number of laws in existence, there are certain laws that are particularly useful to know. These laws are often related to personal safety, property ownership, and the protection of individual rights. By having a basic understanding of these laws, individuals can make informed decisions and take proactive steps to protect themselves and their property. In this article, we explore some of the most useful laws to know and how they can benefit you in everyday life.

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