Law is a system
System is a set of interacting or interdependent components forming an integrated whole....

 of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social
The term social refers to a characteristic of living organisms...

An institution is any structure or mechanism of social order and cooperation governing the behavior of a set of individuals within a given human community...

s to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

, economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

 and society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...

 in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus ticket to trading on derivatives markets
Derivative (finance)
A derivative instrument is a contract between two parties that specifies conditions—in particular, dates and the resulting values of the underlying variables—under which payments, or payoffs, are to be made between the parties.Under U.S...

. Property law
Property law
Property law is the area of law that governs the various forms of ownership in real property and in personal property, within the common law legal system. In the civil law system, there is a division between movable and immovable property...

 defines rights and obligations related to the transfer and title of personal
Personal property
Personal property, roughly speaking, is private property that is moveable, as opposed to real property or real estate. In the common law systems personal property may also be called chattels or personalty. In the civil law systems personal property is often called movable property or movables - any...

 and real property
Real property
In English Common Law, real property, real estate, realty, or immovable property is any subset of land that has been legally defined and the improvements to it made by human efforts: any buildings, machinery, wells, dams, ponds, mines, canals, roads, various property rights, and so forth...

. Trust law
Trust law
In common law legal systems, a trust is a relationship whereby property is held by one party for the benefit of another...

 applies to assets held for investment and financial security, while tort
A tort, in common law jurisdictions, is a wrong that involves a breach of a civil duty owed to someone else. It is differentiated from a crime, which involves a breach of a duty owed to society in general...

 law allows claims for compensation if a person's rights or property are harmed
Harm principle
The harm principle holds that the actions of individuals should only be limited to prevent harm to other individuals. John Stuart Mill first articulated this principle in On Liberty, where he argued that "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized...


The one great principle of the English law is, to make business for itself.

Charles Dickens, Bleak House (1853).

The rule of law can be wiped out in one misguided, however will-intentioned generation. And if that should happen, it could take a century of striving and ordeal to restore it, and then only at the cost of the lives of many good men and women.

William T. Gossett, President of the American Bar Association|American Bar Association, August 9, 1969 speech.

The law is a sort of hocus-pocus science, that smiles in yer face while it picks yer pocket; and the glorious uncertainty of it is of mair use to the professors than the justice of it.

Charles Macklin, Love à la Mode (1759), Act ii. Sc. 1.

Laws, in their most general signification, are the necessary relations derived from the nature of things.

Montesquieu, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 375.

If one were to pass a law limiting holistic physicians to a single holistic method, I would stick with my dentist.

Thomas Rau, Biological Medicin (German: Biologische Medizin, Fona-Verlag (2007) - ISBN 978-3-03780-803-0) - p. 144

As Bob Dylan forgot to say, "To live outside the law, you must be lucky."

Spider Robinson, in Callahan's Key (2000).

Necessity creates the law,—it supersedes rules; and whatever is reasonable and just in such cases is likewise legal.

William Scott, 1st Baron Stowell, The Gratitude (1801), 3 Rob. Adm. Rep. 240. Note that "The Gratitude" is the name of a legal case in admiralty, such cases being styled by the name of the vessel at issue.

Quædam iura non scripta, sed omnibus scriptis certiora sunt.

Some laws are not written, but are more decisive than any written law.

We must not make a scarecrow of the law,Setting it up to fear the birds of prey,And let it keep one shape, till custom make itTheir perch and not their terror.

William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure (c. 1604), Act II, scene i.