Law is a set of rules that a society or government establishes and enforces to regulate behavior. These rules may be state-enforced through a collective legislature (resulting in statutes), decreed by the executive branch, or created and enforced by judges through precedent (common law jurisdictions). Individuals can also create legally binding contracts with each other. Law covers a wide range of topics, from labour law, which governs the tripartite industrial relationship between employer, employee and trade union, to property law, which establishes ownership rights. Law can also encompass criminal law, which deals with a country’s penal system and procedures for trial and appeals, and evidence law, which determines what materials are admissible in court.
The underlying principle of law is the idea that people who act in accordance with a set of rules will generally be treated equally by the social order. Despite this, people disagree and conflicts arise. When these occur, the purpose of the legal system is to resolve them peacefully. Ideally, it ensures that everyone’s rights are respected and that the public is safe. Law does not, however, solve every problem and there are a number of issues that it is unable to address.