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​​Law is a system of rules created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,[2] with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate.[3][4][5] It has been variously described as a science[6][7] and the art of justice.[8][9][10] State-enforced laws can be made by a group legislature or by a single legislator, resulting in statutes; by the executive through decrees and regulations; or established by judges through precedent, usually in common law jurisdictions. Private individuals may create legally binding contracts, including arbitration agreements that adopt alternative ways of resolving disputes to standard court litigation. The creation of laws themselves may be influenced by a constitution, written or tacit, and the rights encoded therein. The law shapes politics, economics, history and society in various ways and serves as a mediator of relations between people. ​Legal systems vary between countries, with their differences analysed in comparative law. In civil law jurisdictions, a legislature or other central body codifies and consolidates the law. In common law systems, judges make binding case law through precedent,[11] although on occasion this may be overturned by a higher court or the legislature.[12] Historically, religious law influenced secular matters,[13] and is still used in some religious communities.[14][15] Sharia law based on Islamic principles is used as the primary legal system in several countries, including Iran and Saudi Arabia.[16][17] ​Law's scope can be divided into two domains. Public law concerns government and society, including constitutional law, administrative law, and criminal law. Private law deals with legal disputes between individuals and/or organisations in areas such as contracts, property, torts/delicts and commercial law.[18] This distinction is stronger in civil law countries, particularly those with a separate system of administrative courts;[19][20] by contrast, the public-private law divide is less pronounced in common law jurisdictions.[21][22] ​Law provides a source of scholarly inquiry into legal history,[23] philosophy,[24] economic analysis[25] and sociology.[26] Law also raises important and complex issues concerning equality, fairness, and justice.

​Birmingham (/ˈbɜːrmɪŋəm/ (About this soundlisten)[3][4] BUR-ming-əm) is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, England. It is the second-largest city, urban area and metropolitan area in England and the United Kingdom,[b] with roughly 1.1 million inhabitants within the city area, 2.9 million inhabitants within the urban area and 4.3 million inhabitants within the metropolitan area and lies within the most populated English district.[5][6][7][8][9][10][10][11] Birmingham is commonly referred to as the second city of the United Kingdom.[12][13]

Located in the West Midlands county and region in England, approximately 100 miles (160 km) from Central London, Birmingham, as one of the United Kingdom's major cities, is considered to be the social, cultural, financial, and commercial centre of both the East and West Midlands. Distinctively, Birmingham only has small rivers flowing through it, mainly the River Tame and its tributaries River Rea and River Cole – one of the closest main rivers is the Severn, approximately 20 miles (32 km) west of the city centre.

A market town of Warwickshire in the medieval period, Birmingham grew in the 18th-century Midlands Enlightenment and subsequent Industrial Revolution, which saw advances in science, technology, and economic development, producing a series of innovations that laid many of the foundations of modern industrial society.[14] By 1791, it was being hailed as "the first manufacturing town in the world".[15] Birmingham's distinctive economic profile, with thousands of small workshops practising a wide variety of specialised and highly skilled trades, encouraged exceptional levels of creativity and innovation and provided an economic base for prosperity that was to last into the final quarter of the 20th century. The Watt steam engine was invented in Birmingham.[16]

The resulting high level of social mobility also fostered a culture of political radicalism which, under leaders from Thomas Attwood to Joseph Chamberlain, was to give it a political influence unparalleled in Britain outside London, and a pivotal role in the development of British democracy.[17] From the summer of 1940 to the spring of 1943, Birmingham was bombed heavily by the German Luftwaffe in what is known as the Birmingham Blitz. The damage done to the city's infrastructure, in addition to a deliberate policy of demolition and new building by planners, led to extensive urban regeneration in subsequent decades.

Birmingham's economy is now dominated by the service sector.[18] The city is a major international commercial centre and an important transport, retail, events and conference hub. Its metropolitan economy is the second largest in the United Kingdom with a GDP of $121.1bn (2014),[2] and its six universities make it the largest centre of higher education in the country outside London.[19] Birmingham's major cultural institutions – the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Birmingham Royal Ballet, the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the Library of Birmingham and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts – enjoy international reputations,[20] and the city has vibrant and influential grassroots art, music, literary and culinary scenes.[21] The city will host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.[22] Birmingham is the fourth-most visited city in the UK by foreign visitors.[23]

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