The Concept of Law

The Law is the set of rules that form a framework to ensure a peaceful society. When the laws are broken sanctions can be imposed to punish the offenders. Law also refers to the discipline and profession concerned with legal reasoning, drafting, and execution.

Some people believe that the law is nothing more than power backed by threats, and that if a sovereign makes bad or arbitrary laws and enforces them, the subjects of those laws will follow them simply because they are orders backed by coercion. This understanding of law is known as legal positivism.

Other people believe that the law is a complex construct of many different things, and that there are deeper dimensions to the concept of law. These include:

A legal system comprises a set of rules governing a particular area, and these rules are enforceable through mechanisms created by the state to impose penalties on those who violate them. The law may be enacted through statutes or regulations. A statute is a duly enacted piece of legislation, generally passed by a legislature, such as the U.S. Congress, for specific limited purposes like regulating interstate commerce. Statutes may be subsequently codified into the United States Code. Regulations are similar to statutes but have a less formal process of creation. In addition, statutes and regulations are subject to judicial interpretation that gives them a greater scope of legal weight.

Other branches of law cover specific areas such as contract law (which regulates the exchange of goods and services), criminal law, family law, property law, and constitutional law. International law covers issues such as international treaties and the rights of refugees. Law and economics examines the impact of law on the economy, while biolaw focuses on the intersection of law and the life sciences.

Some people believe that a concept of law is more than merely the set of words written on a piece of paper or typed into a computer, and that it includes reading between the lines to discern the spirit of the law. The idea of morality as part of a concept of law is sometimes called “legality” and is an important consideration for judges in interpreting the law. For example, the prohibition on insider trading reflects a general sense of fairness that may be considered a moral stance. Similarly, due process might be seen as a fundamental sense of fairness and decency in government action that is a core principle of the law.

By adminssk
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