The Function of Law

Law is the set of rules created by a state which forms the framework to ensure a peaceful society. It provides ways to settle disputes and protects individual rights. Law also ensures that the police, government and public officials carry out their duties properly. Laws may be written by a group legislature, resulting in statutes; by the executive through decrees and regulations; or established by judges through precedent (called stare decisis). Private individuals can also create legally binding contracts. Other important areas of law include labour law — which covers the tripartite industrial relationship between worker, employer and trade union; criminal law; civil procedure; evidence law — about what materials can be used in courts to build cases; and property law, which defines people’s rights and obligations toward their tangible properties, including land, houses and cars.

The law cannot make everyone happy. Conflicts are bound to arise. But laws can help to resolve disputes peacefully, preventing violence and even war. They can prevent people from taking or damaging each other’s property. Laws can also protect the safety of people and property from terrorist attacks, piracy and fraud.

But the main function of law is to serve a nation’s political and social interests. The law can help to keep the peace and maintain the status quo; protect minorities against majorities; promote social justice; provide for orderly change; and encourage democracy, among other things. The law can serve a nation’s people more effectively than an authoritarian regime or a chaotic revolution.