What Is Law?

What Is Law?

Law is a set of rules that a community or country sets to regulate the behaviour of those apart of it. It is a system of rules that if broken subjects people to either punishment or liability. In the United States, law is a mosaic of statutes, treaties, case laws, Administrative Agency regulations, executive orders and local laws. Law is not static, and new laws are constantly being introduced and old ones repealed. It can be difficult to know what exactly a law is because of the many different definitions and interpretations.

The idealistic definition of law is one that defines it as a body of principles, recognised and applied by the State in the administration of justice. It is a command of the sovereign and as such it is obliging to obey, and if one doesn’t obey, there is a sanction for that disobedience. This definition of law was popularized by the Romans and other ancient jurists. This type of definition of law also sees the creation of legal rights and wrongs based on a hierarchy of norms.

Other definitions of law have been proposed by scholars. John Salmond, a prominent scholar of jurisprudence defined law as “law is a body of rules and codes that are enacted by governments to control human conduct”. He further categorized the sources of law into two categories: material sources and formal sources.

It is important to understand the purpose of a law and how it works in order to be able to distinguish between the different types of law. The four major purposes of a law are establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes and protecting liberties and rights. The purpose of law is to keep a society safe and secure by ensuring that everyone adheres to the same rules. Without it, people would be free to do whatever they want and there would be no consequences for their actions.

Moreover, the purpose of law is to ensure that justice is done in society. This can be achieved by distributive or corrective justice. Distributive justice aims to distribute social benefits fairly among the members of society and corrective justice aims to punish those who break the rules.

The neo-realist theory of law is an alternative to the idealism of a law. It believes that the existence of a law can be understood by empirical, scientific evaluation. It goes behind the legal principle and looks at what the administrators of a law do or are thinking as they carry out their roles. The result is that law is a product of the ethical, moral, political and sociological beliefs of those who are charged with creating and interpreting the law. This is what makes law a complex and difficult subject to understand.