Law is a set of rules created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It is often viewed as a science or an art of justice.
The primary purposes of law are establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes, and protecting liberties and rights. Some legal systems achieve these objectives more effectively than others. For example, an authoritarian regime may keep the peace and maintain the status quo but it may also oppress minorities or political opponents.
Law is the subject of many scholarly endeavors, including studies in legal history, philosophy, economic analysis and sociology. It also raises important and complex issues concerning equality, fairness and justice.
For example, the Jewish Halakha and Islamic Shari’a are based on religious precepts and the Quran is a source of further law through interpretation (qiyas), ijma (consensus) and precedent. The legal profession is a vital part of the society. It is a career that has its own unique challenges and rewards.
The study of law can also inspire a desire for reform, such as the quest to have judges be more representative of society as a whole or to improve the way laws are written. However, these reforms are not always easy to implement. There is a danger that the quest for a more perfect legal system could detract from its essential purpose: enforcing societal values and morals.