Law is a system of official rules and regulations within a given nation or community used to govern the behaviour of its populace, and which are enforced through various controlling authorities and social institutions. The legal framework of a society, generally established within constitutions, legislation, and judicial perspectives, helps to maintain social order as well as balance individual rights with obligations as members of society. The study of law covers a diverse range of topics such as criminal punishment, federal and provincial institutions, human rights, ethics, and administrative action.
Law is generally divided into criminal law, which deals with conduct considered harmful and illegal by the given constraints of a society’s legal system and the meting out of appropriate punishment, and civil law, which settles private disputes (also known as lawsuits) between individuals or organizations and provides legal compensation to the successful litigant.
A number of specialized branches also exist within the realm of civil law, such as: international law, the governance of affairs between different countries or sovereign states ranging from immigration to trade to military action; constitutional and administrative law, which defines the relationship between intergovernmental branches on a federal and provincial level and provides a framework for the actions and operating procedure of government; contract law, which regulates oral and written agreements between parties for reasons pertaining to money, property, or services and the nature of their obligations; tort law, which deals with civil wrongs (torts) that cause unfair harm or loss and legal liability for the responsible party; property law, which regulates and governs purchasing, ownership, and tenancy of real or personal property; and equity and trusts, which define a body of rules developed in England separately from the common law system enabling shared ownership of property through binding trust agreements.
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