Law shapes politics, economics, history and society in many ways. It is important for a well-ordered society because it settles disputes, prevents disorder and ensures justice. It is a complex subject that covers everything from property rights to social security and terrorism. People who study the law are called lawyers, judges or legal experts. A career in law is increasingly attractive to young people.
Different societies have different law systems. There are civil law jurisdictions that codify and consolidate laws, and common law systems based on judge-made precedent. There are also religious laws, which are explicitly based on scriptures or other religious sources. These include Jewish Halakha, Islamic Sharia and Christian canon law.
In general, law is about ensuring that everyone is treated equally, fairly and impartially. This includes government and private actors. The rule of law entails that the laws are clear, publicized and stable, and that they are independently enforced and adjudicated. It is also about ensuring that laws are consistent with international human rights norms and standards.
Specific areas of law include competition (antitrust) and consumer law, criminal law and tax law. Competition law aims to control businesses who use their power and influence to distort market prices at the expense of consumers. It has its origins in Roman decrees against price fixing and English restraint of trade doctrine. Criminal law deals with crimes against the state and provides punishments for those who break them. Tax law deals with regulations on value added tax, corporate and income taxes.