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 a science and as the art of justice. The term can also be used to refer to a specific branch of law, such as criminal or business laws.

There are many aspects of the law, and they cover virtually every area of human activity. For instance, labour law focuses on the tripartite industrial relationship between worker, employer and trade union, while property law encompasses the ownership of land and other assets. Tax law covers the collection and distribution of public funds, while international law deals with the rights of people who live in countries that are not their own. Laws may be made by a legislature, resulting in statutes, or they may be established by judges through precedent, as in common law jurisdictions. Individuals may also create their own legal agreements, such as contracts and agreements governing property transfers.

The law can be seen as a system of rules that a community agrees to follow, and it is used to govern such activities as murder, property transactions, immigration and divorce proceedings. It can also be used to describe the people who work in this field, such as a judge or lawyer.

A legal document describing the rights and responsibilities of a person, family or company is called a charter or constitution. It is the basis for a government, and it provides a framework for the legal system. In the US, there are constitutional, civil and criminal law systems, all of which have different requirements for how a case should be handled.

Science, on the other hand, is a method of finding out what causes things to happen in certain circumstances. The strength of gravity between two objects, for example, is a scientific fact that can be proven through experiment. A scientific theory, on the other hand, is a belief that can be proved or disproved by research.

The study of the law requires a wide knowledge of subjects. Oxford Reference provides more than 34,000 concise definitions and in-depth, specialist encyclopedic entries on all the major topics, from criminal law, taxes and social security to human rights, family law and international law. In addition, there are entries on the legal profession, legal terms and vocabulary, and important debates in law theory. The site is designed to help researchers at every level find the information they need, with quick links between related articles and searches by subject, author or word. The site also includes a glossary of legal terms, a list of key legal concepts and a timeline of key events in the development of the law.