Law is the set of rules that governs the conduct of people, businesses, and institutions. The precise definition of law has been a matter of some debate, but the term has generally been defined as a collection of principles and commands established by governing bodies to control their members and the relationships among them. The study of law involves an examination of the principles and processes by which laws are created, enforced, and adjudicated.
Law influences politics, economics, history and society in many ways. It orders and forbids, announces rewards and punishments, establishes standards, and imposes obligations. It is a fundamental aspect of modern society that enables commerce and social interaction to take place.
Legal systems vary greatly around the world. Some are based on a combination of constitutional and administrative structures, while others are centered on religious values. Those based on civil law, also known as continental or Romano-Germanic legal systems, are found across the world and account for about 60% of the global population. These systems are characterized by concepts, categories and rules derived from Roman law and canon law, often supplemented or modified by local culture and custom.
The purpose of law is to ensure justice, which may be distributive or corrective. Distributive justice seeks to provide equal opportunities, while corrective justice aims to rectify injustices. The study of law involves a wide range of topics, including criminal and civil law; contracts; international and commercial law; family and inheritance law; medical jurisprudence; property law; and tort law.
It is an important discipline because it addresses a multitude of human activities and interactions, including business, government, the environment, education, health, and the distribution of wealth. It is also a major tool in the development and preservation of cultural heritage.
The practice of law requires a great deal of creativity and intellectual effort, as well as the ability to adapt it to new circumstances. For this reason, it is a fascinating field for academics and professionals alike. The study of law is also a rich source of discussion and debate, such as the question of whether judges should be impartial, as prescribed by constitutional guarantees. Another lively debate concerns the role of the legal profession in politics.