The new third edition of this well established text provides an accessible and stimulating introduction to interdisciplinary and contextual studies of the law and its structures and processes. It looks at the ideas that underlie legal systems, particularly of common law jurisdictions, and how these ideas play themselves out in issues such as access to justice, the litigation process, and the lawyer-client relationship. The book examines the politics of lawmaking, and the impact of the law on questions of gender, race and multiculturalism. All material in the book has been thoroughly revised and updated, including the discussions, with all chapters rewritten and re-organised to draw out the book's themes more clearly. Major changes to the previous edition include: the replacement of the section on law and economics by a broader section on law and regulation; and, the inclusion of a new chapter on law, globalization and terrorism which places the law in its wider global context.