Law is a set of rules created and enforced by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. Laws may be enacted by a collective legislature resulting in statutes, or by the executive through decrees and regulations, or established by judges through precedent, known as common law. Private individuals can also create legally binding contracts and legal disputes may be litigated in courts. Law can be applied to the relationships of a particular community, an entire nation or international society. Law can encompass the rights of citizens such as freedom of speech and religion, the privileges and responsibilities of property ownership or a person’s right to a fair trial. Law can also apply to a specific area of human endeavour, such as science (including genetics and biotechnology), sport or the arts.
Despite the complexity of the field, there are some basic points that can be made. First, the tenets of law are based on human judgment and can thus be subject to error and bias. This is why some philosophers like Max Weber argued that laws are not objective, but rather the product of a culture and its power structures.
Moreover, the rules of law are often arbitrary and cannot be proven empirically. As the Greek Philosopher Aristotle pointed out, if someone seeks to be wiser than the law, they are in a very poor position.