Business law is a very broad and all encompassing area of law. It is often sub divided into other areas (contract, employment, etc). Essentially, business law concerns all legal aspects of setting up, establishing, running, managing and expanding a business, be it big, medium or small.
Also called commercial law, business law is often considered a branch of civil (as opposed to criminal) law. Commercial law seeks to govern and regulate business transactions, standards, oversight and accountability.
Commercial law contains many different strands, often categorised to avoid confusion. On the one hand, managers have laws concerning employment (e.g. the UK Employment Act 1996) and their relationship and responsibilities to their employees. Contract law- be it leases of premises, or contracts for supplies or employment- forms a key part of commercial law, and is often incredibly dense and detailed.
Practical elements of how businesses should operate are also covered by commercial law; trade and industry standards have to be adhered to, selling arrangements have to be fair, good working practices have to be established, etc. Health and safety is very important, as compliance to legal codes such as the US’s OSHA is a vital requirement for all businesses. Customer and supplier rights and responsibilities are another concern of commercial law (e.g. the Uk’s UCTA 1977), as is fair and honest advertising and promoting.
Many nations have laws promoting competition and fair market practices to be taken into consideration- the EU being a good example. Business taxation, financial practices and record keeping are also regulated by dedicated business financial statutes and governmental agencies. If it is a public company, there is legislation in place setting out how the company should be fairly and openly publicly traded.
Additionally the matter of carriage of goods, be it by sea, air, rail or road vehicle is regulated- especially if the goods are crossing borders. For larger business, entering new markets, establishing in new countries, and mergers and acquisitions each come with their own legal issues and concerns. Environmental or human rights law might be relevant for some businesses.
Business or commercial law is a very varied area of law, cutting across several diverse legal areas. These days, it can often also have an international dimension. Commercial law seeks to regulate all areas of business transactions to ensure that the business is open and accountable, and operating in line in with trade regulations and local legislation.