Law is a system of rules that society develops in order to deal with things like crime, business agreements and social relationships. It is also used to refer to a particular branch of the system such as criminal or civil law. Alternatively, law can be used to describe the people who work in this system, such as a judge or lawyer.
Law has a number of important functions in society, four principal ones being establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes and protecting liberties and rights. There are a number of different types of laws, which differ depending on the nature of society and the country. For example, a nation may have an extensive and complex legal system, or it could be a monarchy with few or no laws at all.
Among the most important functions of law is ensuring that governments and individuals obey the rules. This is why events like King John signing the Magna Carta in 1215 were so significant, even though he eventually lost the power to impose his will on the people.
There are a few major branches of law. Contract law regulates agreements to exchange goods and services, including anything from buying a bus ticket to trading options on a stock market. Property law establishes people’s rights and obligations toward tangible property, such as houses or cars. Criminal law punishes behavior that is considered harmful to society, and civil law resolves lawsuits (disputes) between individuals or organizations.