Law is a set of social or governmental rules that form a framework for behaviour. It can be enforced by a government to ensure people adhere to its rules, or it can be applied to private individuals through courts and contracts. It can also be used to control the behaviour of large groups, such as nations, using military force and bureaucracy. A key function of laws is to keep the peace, but some systems fail to do this properly and may oppress minorities or political opponents (see colonialism). Nevertheless, even authoritarian governments can be useful in ensuring orderly social change.
The legal system is a source of study in many fields, including the philosophy of law, history of law and ideas about justice and rights. It is a major field of scholarly inquiry, and its principles are applied in such disciplines as economic analysis and sociology.
Legal writing should be clear and concise. Avoid excessive use of jargon and technical terms that are unfamiliar to your audience, as this can make the article more difficult to read and understand.
The law covers many areas of human activity, including the organisation and running of businesses; contract law; property law; labour law; administrative law; criminal law and civil law. The legal field is constantly developing to meet the needs of society, and new areas are opened up by technological advances and the need to address the growing demands of international business. For example, space law addresses issues concerning human activities in Earth orbit and outer space, and tax law encompasses regulations that govern value added tax, corporate tax and income tax.