Law is the set of rules that a society develops and enforces to deal with issues such as crime and business agreements. Those rules can be broadly classified as civil, criminal or administrative law. Civil law includes such subjects as tort (compensation when an individual is harmed, for example in an automobile accident or by defamation), contract law, labour law, family law and property law. Criminal law deals with offences against the state or the community, such as homicide or terrorism. Administrative law includes rules on the activities of public bodies, such as a national transport system or utilities like water and energy.
Law serves many purposes: establishing standards; maintaining order and justice; resolving disputes; and protecting liberties and rights. The article examines those goals and discusses the relationships between law and other areas of society. It also looks at the legal profession and law education.
Some countries have civil law systems, where a central legislature codifies laws. Others have common law systems, where judge-made precedent is binding. A third type of law is religious law, which covers the practices of a particular religion, such as Islam’s Shari’ah and Judaism’s Talmud and Midrash.