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The Wikipedia defines law as a system of rules that are created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. This system regulates and ensures that individuals or a community adhere to the will of the state. State-enforced laws can be made by a collective legislature or by a single legislator, resulting in statutes, by the executive through decrees and regulations, or established by judges through precedent, normally in common law jurisdictions. Private individuals can create legally binding contracts, including arbitration agreements that may elect to accept alternative arbitration to the normal court process. The formation of laws themselves may be influenced by a constitution, written or tacit, and the rights encoded therein. 

Basically, laws shape politics, economics, history and society in various ways and serves as a mediator of relations between people.

There is a difference between  (a) civil law jurisdictions, in which a legislature or other central body codifies and consolidates their laws, and (b) common law systems, where judge-made precedent is accepted as binding law. 

The adjudication of the law is generally divided into two main areas. Criminal law deals with conduct that is considered harmful to social order and in which the guilty party may be imprisoned or fined. Civil law (not to be confused with civil law jurisdictions above) deals with the resolution of lawsuits (disputes) between individuals or organizations.