Law is the set of rules that form a framework for ensuring a peaceful society. It serves several purposes, including establishing standards, maintaining order and resolving disputes. It also protects liberties and rights. Laws are created and enforced through the legislative branch, which is made up of Congress. In the United States, the lawmaking power is held by the House of Representatives and the Senate. Laws begin as ideas, or bills, which are then studied and debated by committees before being voted on.

Almost every area of life is touched by law in one way or another. The main branches of law are criminal, civil and administrative. Civil law deals with disputes between individuals or groups, and criminal law deals with conduct that is considered harmful to the community or state. Administrative law encompasses the regulatory activities of government agencies, such as regulating businesses or creating public utilities.

Criminal law is the most well-known branch of law, and it focuses on crimes committed against people. It provides punishment for those who break the law and aims to deter others from committing similar offenses. However, it is not always successful in its goals. Criminals can still commit crimes in spite of the laws, and some courts have found it difficult to apply the law equally to all people.

Legal systems differ greatly, and different views about what law is have emerged in the scholarly literature. However, most scholars agree that there are three fundamental concepts in law: objective, subjective and functional. Objective is the principle that law should be based on a set of principles that all parties can accept and apply. Subjective is the notion that the law should reflect the values and perceptions of the individual who applies it. Functional is the idea that a law should be designed to achieve its objectives in a practical manner.

Besides the broad areas of law discussed above, there are many specific legal topics. For example, employment law covers the tripartite industrial relationship between worker, employer and trade union. Tax law includes the study of laws pertaining to income and sales taxes. Banking and financial law involve regulating the amount of capital banks must hold, and rules about how money is invested.