Law is a set of rules created by social or governmental institutions to control human behavior and promote cooperation in society. It also regulates the economic interests of individuals and groups, protects the environment, and helps resolve conflicts of interest. The term is used in different ways in various cultures and societies, but the basic idea of law remains the same worldwide.
There are many definitions of law, and different countries have their own legal systems. Some are based on a constitution; others have a parliamentary system of government. The judicial branch may be separated from the executive, or it may not. Some have an independent judiciary, while others have a supreme court that reviews cases referred to it by lower courts.
The concept of law is an important one for people who study or practice the field. The word is often used as a synonym for judicial or statutory authority, but there are other meanings as well. For example, contract law governs agreements for the exchange of goods and services; property law defines people’s rights and duties toward tangible properties such as land or buildings; and criminal law sets standards for crimes, and relates to the prosecution and punishment of people who commit them.
Several books have been written about the law, and many different ideas about it have emerged. Some have emphasized the scientific aspects of law, and others have emphasized its role as a means of social control.