Law is a set of rules created and enforced by social or governmental institutions to regulate behaviour. Its precise definition is a matter of longstanding debate, but it includes the general principles of equity and justice (fair distribution of goods/privileges and burdens in society). The field is wide, covering many aspects of life. It can be grouped into three broad categories, but the subjects overlap and intertwine.
Contract law concerns agreements to exchange goods and services; it includes contracts such as a mortgage or a car loan. Property law governs people’s rights and duties toward tangible property, ranging from land or buildings to movable objects such as computers or jewelry. It also involves a person’s intangible property, such as the right to privacy or the ownership of intellectual property like patents. The law of corporations stems from the law of trusts and a desire to separate ownership of property from control. Commercial law covers complex contracts, such as the law of agency, insurance and bills of exchange. It also includes laws about companies, insolvency and bankruptcy and sales law, which all trace back to the medieval Law Merchant.
The main purpose of the law is to maintain standards and order, although it is often used as a tool for regulating behaviour. The governing body is usually democratically elected, and the legal system is open to all citizens for appeals and reviews. The law should be clear, publicly available and stable, yet leave room for interpretation and creative jurisprudence. It should also be well-financed and well-resourced, with judicial officers able to access the best research and training.