Law is a system of rules that a society or government develops to deal with crime, business agreements, and social relationships. It is also used to refer to the people who work in this system, including lawyers and judges.
Legal systems can be divided into two main groups: civil and common law. In most countries, civil law is based on a codified system of rules and principles that are widely accepted by both citizens and jurists.
The primary purposes of the law are to keep the peace, maintain the status quo, preserve individual rights, protect minorities against majorities, promote social justice and provide for orderly social change. Some legal systems serve these purposes better than others, while others fail to achieve them.
Religion has also been an important component of many legal systems. Examples of religious law are Jewish Halakha (law) and Islamic Sharia (the path to follow).
Generally, religion acts as a source of further law through interpretation, Qiyas (reasoning by analogy), Ijma (consensus) and precedent. It also plays a significant role in elaborating detailed legal systems, such as those of the Quran and the Torah.
Legal authorities include domestic and foreign enactments, cases laws, law dictionaries, obiter dictum and comments by legal authors. Salient principles of law must be backed up with authority to be considered valid and influential.