Law is the set of rules that are created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. These laws can be written and codified by legislatures, resulting in statutes, made by executive decrees and regulations, or established by judicial decision, called case law. Laws can be private or public and they govern a variety of subjects. Laws are complex from a methodological standpoint and differ from normative statements in empirical science (such as the law of gravity) or even social sciences (like a law of supply and demand).
The discipline and profession of studying these rules is known as jurisprudence. Law shapes many aspects of society including politics, economics and sociology. It is a source of much scholarly inquiry in the fields of legal history, philosophy and economic analysis. In addition, it raises a number of important issues concerning equality and justice.
Laws help to ensure a safe and peaceful society. They allow individuals to have their property rights protected and they provide a means for people to resolve disputes peacefully. They also ensure that governments and public officials carry out their duties in accordance with the law.
Although the law is an incredibly powerful tool, it is not necessarily perfect. Many nations have flawed political and legal systems. For example, authoritarian governments may keep the peace and maintain the status quo, but they can oppress minorities or opposing political parties. Furthermore, revolutions are a common feature of political life and can lead to new laws.