Law is a system of rules created and enforced by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. Its precise definition is a matter of longstanding debate. It has been variously described as a science and as the art of justice. The broadest view of the law sees it as a body of norms promulgated and made accessible to people so that they can study them, internalize them, figure out what is required of them, set their plans and expectations within them, settle disputes with others, and defend themselves against abuses of public and private power. This view requires the independence of judges, the accountability of government officials and businesses, and the transparency of legal procedures.
A more narrow view of the law sees it as essentially the set of laws that deal with civil matters, such as torts (claims for compensation when someone or their property is harmed), contracts, and defamation. Laws that deal with regulating business, preventing crime, and protecting individuals and the environment are also seen as part of the law.
Besides being the subject of scholarly inquiry into legal history, philosophy and economic analysis, law is an important aspect of many careers. Lawyers, paralegals, and other specialized professionals advise businesses and individuals about legal issues and represent them in court cases or negotiate with authorities. The law also provides the basis for many governmental and public services, such as taxation, banking regulation, and safety regulations. In addition, law provides a framework for a variety of academic disciplines, such as history, political science, sociology, and economics.