Law is the study of the rules that a country or community recognizes as regulating their actions. It consists of many fields, including criminal law, tax and social security law, family law, international law, and legal ethics.
The United States uses a common law system; other countries, such as Japan, use civil codes that provide the rules that judges must follow in order to come to a decision. The decisions are called case law and are compiled and interpreted by the courts.
In some jurisdictions, such as the UK, legal professionals are regulated by the government. In others, such as Australia, they are regulated by independent bodies such as a bar association or a law society.
Lawyers are professionals who use their knowledge of the law to defend people or companies against lawsuits and other types of disputes. They are trained in a specific subject, such as criminal law or corporate law, and have to pass a qualification exam to gain professional recognition.
A key element of the discipline is that it deals with the social and political structures that shape and guide the way the law operates. This includes the relationship between law and social justice, as well as the law’s effect on economic development.