What is Law?

Law is the system of rules that a government or society develops to deal with crime, business agreements and social relationships. It also refers to the people who work in this field.

Law shapes politics, economics, history and culture in various ways. It mediates relations between people and enables them to live together in peace and prosperity. It also regulates the activities of businesses and governments, and protects the rights of individuals.

The precise definition of law varies from place to place, but a general distinction can be made between civil law jurisdictions, where laws are codified and enforced by a central authority, and common law systems, where judges create the laws through their judgements. Law may also be based on religious precepts, as in Jewish halakha and Islamic Sharia.

A lawyer is a person who practices law, or advises others on legal issues. In many countries, lawyers are regulated by the law, and must undergo special training before being allowed to practice. They are referred to as barristers, solicitors or attorneys, and have distinct professional identities. Lawyers are usually licensed to practice law, and are required to obey a code of professional conduct.

The law is a complex area, and there are a wide variety of legal fields. Property law covers ownership and possession of land and its buildings and structures, and includes a distinction between rights in rem and those in personal possession (rights to money, goods or services rather than to a specific thing). Commercial law covers complex contracts and property, and includes such things as the law of agency, insurance, bills of exchange and insolvency law.