The Nature of Law
Law is the system of rules governing the actions of people in a particular country or community. These rules are enacted by a government and enforced through courts.
The purpose of law is to keep the peace, maintain the status quo, preserve individual rights, protect minorities against majorities, promote social justice and provide for orderly social change. Some legal systems serve these purposes better than others.
In modern times, law has become an instrument of social progress. Jurists believe that the primary function of law is to ensure a secure society, while some theorists argue that law is more than an instrument for securing individuals’ rights.
According to the theory of law developed by Hans Kelsen, law is a ‘normative science’ that defines certain rules that must be followed. This approach contrasts with the sociological school of law, which views law as an ‘instrument for securing social justice’.
Many of the theories defining the nature of law date back to the nineteenth century, with the most important being those of Friedrich Karl von Savigny and Max Weber. In the case of Savigny, it was said that law should be seen as an organic growth that has its source in the common consciousness (Volkgeist) of the people and is shaped by both experience and custom.
Another view, developed by John Locke and Montesquieu, holds that law is a means of securing social justice. This is based on the concept of’reasonableness’, which is defined as a standard that should be applied to decisions.
The most important aspect of this theory is that there should be a common basis for all laws, which are then considered as being fair and just. This means that the laws should not discriminate on grounds of race, religion or gender.
Other aspects of this theory are that law should not be arbitrary, and that it should be a neutral instrument. This can be achieved by not allowing the state to interfere with individual freedoms and by ensuring that all citizens are treated equally before the law.
Moreover, the role of law is to secure the welfare of the community. For example, it provides protection for children and elderly people.
In addition, it gives protection to those who are vulnerable, such as the homeless or those who have been abused. It also helps in maintaining a stable economic environment by setting the minimum levels of income and capital that banks are required to hold.
There are various branches of the law, which cover a wide range of areas including crime, family and employment law. International law, for instance, covers disputes between nations over disputed territory and the use of outer space. It also addresses issues of human rights and immigration.