Law is the set of rules created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It serves many purposes, including establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes, and protecting liberties and rights. Law can be enacted by legislatures through statutes, decrees or regulations; or it may be established by judges by precedent (known as common law jurisdictions); or it can be private, resulting from contracts and other agreements.
The study of law has a broad scope and encompasses several disciplines, such as philosophy, history, economic analysis, sociology and political science. The core subjects of law are constitutional law, criminal law, civil law and common law, as well as the fields of evidence law and legal procedure.
The law defines the basic structure of society, such as the division of property and the definition of crimes. It also provides a mechanism for resolving conflicts that occur in even the most well-ordered societies, such as a dispute over ownership of land. The law provides a way to resolve these conflicts peacefully through the courts, rather than through direct conflict between the parties involved. The law also protects individual rights by setting the limits on the actions of governments and police officers. For example, the law prohibits racial discrimination and protects the privacy of citizens. It also establishes the rights of individuals in the workplace, such as the right to strike and the minimum wage. The law also governs the relationships between employers, employees and trade unions, involving labour laws and collective bargaining.