What is law?
People on the earth live in contract with other people, and this explains the need for laws. Human beings live in social groups. This helps each person in a group to live a better life. But this also means that people must work and cooperate with each other. Unfortunately, some people in society behave in anti-social ways. Some individuals become irritable, some angry, some selfish, some aggressive, and some even violent. Their actions may harm other people’s lives or their property. Imagine for a moment a world without laws. Someone bigger, stronger or faster could steal or take away your mobile phone, car or money. Even your life could be in danger – others could attack or kill you. You would have to life by the law of the jungle.
Laws protect people from the ” bad” actions of others. In effect the idea of law is to put limits on people’s greed and emotions. As individuals we all have certain freedoms and rights. Sometimes for the protection of society, the law places limits on there rights. As a famous judge once said, “Your right to swing your fist ends at the point where the other fellow’s nose begins.”
To ensure the security of law-abiding citizens the government provides the legal machine with the weapons of compulsion – police, courts and prisons. The police enforce the law and catch those who break it, courts apply the law or establish guilt or innocence, and prisons punish offenders.
Laws have several other aims. They also set rules for our life. For example, laws guarantee to people who buy and sell goods, make wills and so on that the state will enforce these private arrangements. People know that, if necessary, laws will help them to settle their disputes peacefully.
Finally, laws establish the system of government. The basic law of every state is its constitution. It describes the structure of government and lays down the rights and obligations of the citizens.
What is law?