Law is a set of rules that are created and enforced by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. Its precise definition is a matter of longstanding debate, and it has been described as both a science and as the art of justice.
Law shapes politics, economics, history and society in a variety of ways. It covers a broad range of issues, including contract law (the rights and duties that people have toward tangible goods such as cars and houses) and property law (the legal treatment of ownership of movable and immovable assets). It also includes criminal law, which deals with conduct that is considered harmful to the community, and civil law, which deals with lawsuits. It can be further divided into a variety of subjects, such as tort law, evidence law, bankruptcy, and appellate procedure.
A key aspect of law is that it provides a framework for social change, while posing a number of difficult ethical and philosophical questions about morality, fairness and justice. It is also unique in that its authoritative statements are of both a normative and prescriptive nature, and they cannot be verified in the same way as those of empirical science or social science.
Oxford Reference brings together concise definitions and in-depth, specialist encyclopedic entries on all the major topics in this important field. Written by trusted experts for researchers at every level, this essential resource offers an unparalleled overview of the law. It is a must-have for any library collection.