A system of rules that a society or government develops to regulate behavior, such as criminal laws. The term can also refer to a profession that deals with legal issues, such as lawyers and judges.
Law may be devised by a legislative body, resulting in statutes; by the executive branch through decrees and regulations; or by courts through case law and binding precedent. Governments may also make international agreements based on legal principles, such as treaties and covenants.
The field of law covers many aspects of human activity, ranging from a crime that can be punished by a court of justice to the right to own property. Moreover, the concept of law is so diverse that it is divided into many subjects, with each subject often touching on other fields.
A few examples of these subjects are contract law, which governs agreements to exchange goods or services; property law, which determines people’s rights to tangible objects like houses and books and intangible things such as money or computer software; and the law of torts, which dictates the rights and obligations of individuals when they hurt someone else through accidents or defamation.
Other areas of law include administrative and tax law, which regulate governmental agencies and companies; constitutional law, which examines the structure of political systems; and civil and criminal procedure, which refer to the rules that must be followed in trial and hearing. Articles that provide a more detailed explanation of the law are civil rights; criminal justice; and law, philosophy of.