Law is the system of rules that a community recognises and enforces through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It may be enacted by a collective legislature, resulting in statutes, decreed by the executive, leading to regulations or established through judicial decisions, as in common law systems. Private individuals may also create legal contracts that are legally binding. From a methodological point of view, law is unique in that it comprises precepts that have normative rather than descriptive or causal significance (like the Law of Gravity).
There are two broad types of law: natural and positive. The former derives its power from human reason and concepts of natural justice and the will of God. The latter derives its legitimacy from a constitution, written or tacit, and the rights encoded therein.
The law of a particular country or region is largely determined by the social context in which it is made and applied. It may also be influenced by the legal tradition of a region, such as Roman or canon law. Legal studies, including legal history and philosophy, explore the nature of the law.
In modern times, law is primarily about the regulation of economic activities and the enforcement of individual and group rights through courts. For example, commercial law includes insurance, bills of exchange and insolvency law, based on the medieval Lex Mercatoria. Banking and tax laws set minimum standards, while company law addresses property ownership and the separation of ownership from control.