Law is an incremental part of any society. Legal rules and regulations keep our societies intact and operational. In the absence of law, chaos can easily ascend in a world where the strong dominates the weak. It is important to understand what is the purpose of law in our society, because only then can we identify and value the functions that law performs and how it impacts us.
After all, none of us would want to live in a world where the powerful are free to pray on the weak, without any consequences. Through this article, we at Lawrina.com law portal are trying to pinpoint the purpose of law, along with the role and functions of law in any society.
Why is law important?
Law essentially draws the line between what is deemed acceptable and what is unacceptable within a society. Even though norms, customs, and traditions also draw lines, crossing those lines does not necessarily have any consequences.
Whereas, laws are enumerated, codified, and most importantly, enforced. A person who breaks the law has to suffer legal consequences in the form of penalties, imprisonments, and in extreme cases, even death sentences. A court provides a fair opportunity to the person to defend himself.
Importance of laws in society
- Legal rules, regulations, and norms are put in place to serve as guidelines for the people of a society to follow.
- These guidelines influence how people conduct themselves, ensuring that people belonging to different social groups can co-exist without conflicts.
- The legal system serves as a set of rules and behavioral protocols for not only the people of the country but also help maintain balance and equivalence between the three federal branches of the government- Legislative, Executive, and Judicial.
- Law allows a society to grapple with and gradually accept even the most monumental of changes.
Irrespective of the fact that whether law enables a society to adopt major changes or not, it can be said with certainty that law does perform all three of the functions mentioned before.
Impact of laws and their proper enforcement
All you have to do is read this research paper, and you will be able to understand the impact laws, such as private property rights, have on the economic growth and prosperity of the region. Proper enforcement of such laws is often directly attributed to the economic development of the region. And it is clear why. No one will open a business in a place where they are not allowed to own the premises or they can be pushed out anytime by anyone.
Function and purpose of law in society
Anarchy can pretty quickly take over in the absence of law. Societies are capable of taking an uncivilized turn if there are no legal consequences enforced on the actions of people. Below are some fundamental functions that law fulfills in a Society:
- Laws are created, essentially, to keep the citizenry of a country, out of harm’s way. Hence, the crucial function and purpose of law are to keep the citizens safe and sound. This is accomplished by maintaining order in society. Thus, the legal system is designed to uphold order in the land.
- Law protects individual rights and liberties, enabling individuals to fight for and receive equal opportunity. Laws function to establish standards within the society. The law guarantees protection to individuals from any unfair discrimination based on gender, race, religion, or economic condition. Under the law, all citizens of a nation are considered and treated equally.
- Another major function of the law is to resolve conflicts among people concerning their rights and obligations. Contract law, for example, governs the behavior or norms that people have to adhere to enter into a contractual relationship with each other, where they perform duties for one another and/or receive certain rights from each other.
- Common-Law exists to serve some collective purpose for society as a whole. It is because in a world with finite resources, not everyone has equal access to the essential resources, creating a natural disparity. People may try to hoard resources. Therefore, laws are put in place to ensure that the common good prevails and wealthy individuals are not allowed to unilaterally control essential resources.
Law in a societal context
Law manifests in the form of legal rules and decision-making in society. These rules and decisions are grounded in context. Law does not function in a vacuum, outside the realm of society. Legal rules are very much ingrained within the societal condition. Articles such as these cover in further detail, all the major characteristics of law from a societal point of view.
Rule of law in the United States
The Federal courts are the pillar of the U.S. legal system. How the Federal Courts articulate the Rule of Law is as a principle that encompasses all people, institutions, and entities, making them accountable to laws that are:
- enacted or adopted publicly;
- enforced equally among the people;
- adjudicated independently; and
- in alignment with human rights.
Different kinds of law
If harm is brought to someone then such acts are codified in legislation. These legislations formulate the Criminal law that allows the state to prosecute the person charged with causing atrocity or harm.
The U.S. constitution has provided a framework that can be followed to create new laws. The constitution is also responsible for extending human rights protection. Even the framework through which we elect our political representatives is a gift of the Constitution.
Civil law is there to govern civil disputes between individuals and entities. Administrative law on the other hand is responsible for governing the decisions and actions taken by governmental agencies.
International law negotiates the dealings between nations. From environmental regulations to economic relations, and even military actions among countries are overseen by international law.
Laws influence all aspects of our lives
Laws impact all aspects of our public lives, and even some aspects of our private lives. Law is enforced with the help of social institutions. These institutions work as an enforcer of certain behavioral restrictions on the people. For example, marriage is a social institution that is also legally binding.
Laws are also capable of changing the direction of politics within the country while shaping the perception of the country outside. Apart from the directly impacting economy, the purpose of laws has an immense societal impact as they serve as a negotiator between people.
Hence, it is safe to say that society cannot function, let alone prosper without the presence of a sound legal system that is effectively enforced, equally within society. A strong legal system serves as the foundation of a happy and healthy society.