Law, as a concept, has two parts.
(1) the measurement of behaviour and events against standards and
(2) the consequence of a failure to meet those standards.
Sharia law is interesting in that the highest authority is Allah, and, as such, all standards are those laid down by Him. However those standards as recognised by Sharia are only given to us directly in the Qu'ran. There is anecdotal evidence of these standards recorded in the Hadith, the Bible (gospels) and other texts, each being weighted according to their distance (or perceived distance) from the source.
When the media refers to Sharia Law in sensationalist articles, it is because the consequences of breaking the law can be extremely harsh, and because the opinion of some Sharia authorities leads it into opposition with juris prudence ("Western" law).
All law however is interpreted and there is no single authority for reference. This is especially true of Sharia. This is no further from ideal than juris prudence, in that the statute books require interpretation by judges and legal advisors. Neither system is perfect, though any imperfections in Sharia must arise as a result of human fallibility in interpretation or application of the law, and this reliance of the immutability of the Qu'ran is often held up as a defence of unpalatable fatwah. I think that the media highlights the failings of Sharia law and paints the whole, incredibly wide, system with the same brush. Much of Juris prudence is derived from the same root as Sharia; it fails to address changing technology and civilisation, something Sharia is accused of, however the difference is that the source material of juris prudence can, and is, changed. Much of juris prudence has evolved through consideration of what is morally acceptable in a society, and can it be said that this is any less or more valid process than reference to the Qu'ran? If our moral compass, our heart, our qalb, is a divine gift, then surely law derived from inspection of this is as valid.
Free-will is undeniably the greatest gift of Allah to man (including woman, I use man as the species, not the gender), yes? So any denial of free-will is a blasphemy against Him. Where that free-will is in conflict with another's free-will, and this is inevitable, then law is called into play, but all law is subject to interpretation and can be corrupted. The law of the heart, however, is God's true law. Would I submit to the judgement of a man, when only Allah can judge? It's an interesting question. If I am in submission to Allah, then my relationship with Him is very personal, and only He and I can judge it.