Law is a discipline or profession concerned with the rule of law. It is the set of rules that govern the conduct of a community, and is enforced by a controlling authority. It deals with a wide range of social issues, from family disputes to employment problems to crimes. Throughout history, the legal profession has played a critical role in the access of people to justice.
The courts also play a key role in preserving the rule of law. They hear the grievances of minority opinions and groups. This is a vital component of the American system of government. Courts may even hear both sides of a controversy in court. Regulatory bodies in the United States include the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, which provides resources to educate citizens and business professionals on different aspects of the legal system.
There are two main schools of thought on law. The first argues that law should be based on the rule of the governing authority. It is often based on religious precepts. Examples of such are Jewish Halakha and Islamic Sharia. Canon law is also a religious law that survives in some church communities. Despite the fact that religion may contain some law, it requires further human elaboration to reach detailed legal systems. The Quran, for example, contains some law and serves as a source of further law through human elaboration, analogy, and consensus.
Another important branch of law is corporate law. This includes the law of trusts. In 1856, the United States passed the Joint Stock Companies Act, which provided limited liability for investors and separate legal personality to a corporation. In addition, commercial law consists of complex contract law, property law, and bills of exchange. Sales law dates back to the medieval Lex Mercatoria. In the US, the Uniform Commercial Code codifies the principles of common law in commercial law.