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Law is a term which does not have a universally accepted definition, but one definition is that law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior. Laws are made by governments, specifically by their legislatures. The formation of laws themselves may be influenced by a constitution and the rights encoded therein. The law shapes politics, economics and society in countless ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. A general distinction can be made between civil law jurisdictions, in which the legislature or other central body codifies and consolidates their laws, and common law systems, where judge-made binding precedents are accepted. Historically, religious laws played a significant role even in settling of secular matters, which is still the case in some countries, particularly Islamic. 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 deals with the resolution of lawsuits between individuals or organizations. These resolutions seek to provide a legal remedy to the winning litigant. (via Freebase)