Law is a system of rules that govern how people can live, work and do business with each other. Governments and police enforce these laws.
The legal system includes a group of judges that resolves people’s disputes and determines whether someone accused of a crime is guilty or innocent. Legal systems vary widely around the world, but most countries have a judge or group of judges who decide cases and who can remove laws that go against the constitution.
Some laws are based on religious precepts and texts, like Jewish Halakha and Islamic Sharia or Christian canon law. These laws are further elaborated by judges and governments using methods of interpretation, reasoning by analogy, Qiyas (reasoning from precedent) and Ijma (consensus).
Other types of law include intellectual property law that protects the rights of people over things they create like music, art and literature with copyright, patents and trademarks. Labour law covers a worker’s rights and the relationship with employers with unions, while tort law helps people claim compensation if they are injured or their property damaged. Medical laws include Physician-Patient Privilege and medical malpractice, while administrative law includes things like court procedures and evidence.
The principal purposes of law are establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes and protecting liberties and rights. These are also the goals of democracy, which imposes checks on the law’s extension through government and ensures that people can access courts to challenge the law.