Law is the set of rules that are created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. Law shapes politics, economics and history in many ways and serves as a mediator of relations between people. Law can be codified by a legislature through statutes, or it may be established by judges through precedent, in common law jurisdictions. Private individuals can also create legal contracts and agreements that are binding upon them.
The study of law provides a rich source of scholarly inquiry into legal history, philosophy, economic analysis and sociology. It also raises profound questions about equality, fairness and justice.
A legal case is a dispute between two or more parties that is resolved by the courts. Lawyers represent the clients in the case and argue their side before a judge. The judge makes a decision, called a judgment, which determines the rights and claims of the participants in the lawsuit.
In civil law jurisdictions, lawsuits are generally about the resolution of disputes between individual people, such as disputes over money, property or relationships. Criminal law, on the other hand, is about punishing conduct that is considered harmful to society.
Law includes a wide range of subjects, including tort law (when someone is harmed, for example in an automobile accident or through defamation) and tax law (when the government collects taxes from businesses). The field is also broadened by newer areas such as space law, which addresses human activities in Earth orbit and outer space, and banking and financial regulation, which sets standards on how banks should be run and what they must do to be safe.