Law is a system of rules that a nation-state sets to maintain order and protect people from harm. These laws are written by the government and enforced by police and courts. They serve various purposes in nations, such as keeping the peace, maintaining the status quo, preserving individual rights, protecting minorities against majorities, and promoting social justice.
There are many different theories of what exactly law is and how it works. One theory is that it is a set of “ought” (normative) propositions that prescribe how people should behave. Others argue that it is a social institution to satisfy societal wants and needs, and that law is a form of social engineering.
Dean Roscoe Pound’s Definition of Law: – According to Pound, law is a social institution that is designed to meet the needs and wants of the society in which it operates. It is a form of social engineering that tries to balance competing interests or conflicting views, and is an essential element in the development and maintenance of a society.
The Sociological School of Law: – The sociological school started in the middle of the nineteenth century and it focused on the effect of law on society, rather than on the content of law. It viewed law as an instrument for social progress, rather than a tool for the protection of individuals’ rights.
It also considers law as an expression of socially rooted custom and as a result should be adjusted to new social conditions and evolving needs through interpretation, creative jurisprudence, and the exercise of judicial discretion by the legislature and the judiciary.
Another way of thinking about the concept of law is that it is a complex, adaptive system of principles and rights encoded in the constitutions of nations, both written and tacit. In a modern country, this might include the basic human rights to life, liberty, and security.
The Constitution of America is a good example of this. It provides a blueprint for the laws of the United States, which must be upheld by Congress and enforced by the government and courts.
Other examples of law are found in religious traditions, where precepts are incorporated into the legal system, mainly in the Jewish Halakha and Islamic Sharia. Similarly, Christian canon law also survives in some church communities.
A person who has a legal right to something is called the “rights holder” or the “right-subject.” The legal right can be granted in any of four ways: by claim, privilege, power, and immunity.
Each of these types of rights has its own legal position, which is a type of normative relation between the right-subject and the right-object. Some of these relationships are more stable than others, such as those between a right-subject and a property owner or between a right-subject and prosecutors or judges.
The right-subject’s rights can be vested (meaning that they are immediately recognized) or deferred to a future state of affairs (such as when a property owner sells the home to a new owner). However, these legal positions only vest once certain facts have been met.