Law is a set of rules created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. Its precise definition is a subject of longstanding debate.
A core feature of law is that it cannot force people to do things that are not possible, such as forcing them to act in a way which violates physical limitations or their mental faculties. However, it can require people to do something if they wish to do so and in exchange for some benefit or freedom, or impose sanctions if they do not comply.
Modern legal systems include civil and criminal law, as well as laws that govern commercial activities such as contracts and property. Laws may be enacted by a legislative process that results in statutes, or by the executive through decrees and regulations, or through judicial decisions resulting in case law (also called stare decisis). There are also special fields of law such as space law and tax law.
The purpose of a legal system is to help make society safe, peaceful and fair for all. It protects the rights of citizens and ensures that all public officials carry out their duties properly. Laws also provide a means for people to resolve conflicts without fighting. For example, if two people claim the same piece of land, law can decide who has the right to it.
Lawyers are called legal professionals, and they have a specific professional identity through specified procedures such as passing a qualifying exam. They have a distinctive professional status as recognised by the title of Esquire, and can obtain higher academic degrees including a Master of Laws, a Bachelor of Laws or a Doctor of Laws.