Law is a system of rules created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. Its precise definition is a subject of longstanding debate. Laws are created by a legislative body, usually through statutes, and interpreted or amended by the judiciary through caselaw, as in common law jurisdictions. A legal system can also be based on a constitution, written or tacit, with rights encoded in it, and regulated by executive orders, decrees, and regulations.
The law serves to protect the rights of individuals and maintain a harmonious, well-ordered society. It also provides a way to settle disputes. For example, if two people claim to own the same piece of land, the courts can decide who is the rightful owner. It also ensures that government and public officials act honestly, fairly, and responsibly.
A legal system may also be based on religious precepts, such as the Jewish Halakha or Islamic Shari’ah. Other sources of law include ancient philosophies, the Talmud and Midrash, and Christian canon law.
Aside from being a source of practical rules, the law is also an important subject for study and research. It is the basis of many scholarly endeavors, such as legal history, philosophy, and economic analysis. Law raises many complex questions about equality, fairness, and justice. It is a field of inquiry that requires a deep understanding of human nature. It is also unique from other areas of human inquiry, as it cannot be empirically verified.