Law is a system of rules that a society or government develops in order to deal with crimes, business agreements and social relationships. It can also refer to the people who work in this field, including lawyers and judges.
The laws of a nation are enforced by government agencies or, in the case of private companies, by contracts between them and their customers. In countries with civil law systems, governments make the laws through legislative processes, resulting in statutes, while in common law jurisdictions they may be established by precedent. The law may regulate such industries as water, energy or telecommunications, and it can include public service obligations or codes of conduct for employees in such fields. It may be based on the constitution of a nation-state, or it may include other documents such as written or tacit contracts.
The law can serve many different purposes, but some of its key functions are to keep the peace, maintain the status quo, protect individual rights, and foster economic development and social change in a sustainable manner. It can serve these purposes better or worse depending on the nation’s political landscape, and it can be shaped by social and cultural forces such as religion, history, tradition and values. In a more general sense, the law is the basis of democracy and the means by which citizens hold their politicians accountable.