Law is the body of rules governing society and the rights of individuals. It has a wide variety of branches and is used to regulate many aspects of everyday life.
The principal purposes of law are establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes and protecting liberties and rights. It also serves as a source of scholarly inquiry into legal history, philosophy, economic analysis and sociology.
There are three main categories of law: criminal, civil and administrative. Criminal law deals with conduct that is considered harmful to social order, and is punishable by imprisonment or a fine. Civil law deals with resolving lawsuits, and is responsible for compensation of people who have been injured.
Property law defines people’s rights and duties toward tangible property, including real estate (land or buildings) and their personal possessions; movable objects, such as computers, cars, jewellery or intangible properties, such as bank accounts and shares of stock. This includes the statutory systems for land registration, mortgages, rental agreements and licences.
Evidence law determines which materials can be admitted in courts for a case to be built. This is an important area of law, especially in countries where the justice system has not developed well.
Jurisprudence and jurisprudential studies are concerned with the structure of the law and its relationship to political structures. This includes a discussion of how the law is made and enforced, and how it differs from other sciences.
Law is a complex field from a methodological perspective, as it is not only normative but also prescriptive. In contrast, empirical science and social science, such as economics, are descriptive, describing what happens but not why it does.