Laws are rules that governments make, which forbid certain actions and are enforced by courts. They also recognize and protect basic rights, such as liberty and equality.
A person who studies law is a lawyer. They earn special legal qualifications, such as a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Civil Law or a Juris Doctor degree. They also achieve professional status by being admitted to a bar association or a law society.
Business laws encompass a variety of fields, such as agency; air law; bankruptcy; contracts; property; sales; and business organizations. They also include regulations affecting industries like energy, gas and water.
The concept of law is sometimes influenced by religion, such as Christian canon law or Jewish Halakha or Islamic Sharia. It may reflect religious precepts, such as a prohibition against abortion, or it can be based on human reasoning, such as in Qiyas (reasoning by analogy), Ijma (consensus) and precedent.
In modern times, the legal profession is regulated by governments or independent bodies such as bar associations and law societies. Lawyers may also earn titles of respect to indicate their level of prominence, such as Esquire or Doctor of Law.
The concept of law is sometimes influenced by the philosophy of natural law, which argues that there are unchangeable laws of nature. Its origins are thought to lie in ancient Greece, and it has been re-emerging in contemporary Western culture through the writings of Thomas Aquinas. Utilitarian theories of law are often seen as a reaction to the concept of natural law, and they remained dominant until the twentieth century.