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Definition of Law





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The Law is a set of principles, rules and standards of conduct

(1) that have general application in the security

(2) that have been developed by an authority for that society, and

(3) for the violation of which the society imposes a penalty.

 

Functions of Law

The basic functions of law are:

Keeping the peace.

Enforcing standards of conduct and maintaining order.

Facilitating planning.

Promoting social justice.

 

Classifications of Law

I. There are many ways to subdivide the law. One way is to distinguish between substantive law and procedural law.

Substantive law sets out the rights and duties governing people as they act in society. Duties tend to take the form of command ”Do this” or “Don’t do this”. Substantive law also establishes rights and privileges. For example, a freedom of speech or the so-called right of self-defence.

Procedural law establishes the rules under which the substantive rules of law are enforced. Rules as to what cases a court can decide, how a trial is conducted, and how a judgment by a court is to be enforced are all part of the procedural law.

II. Another important distinction is between criminal law, concerned with wrongful acts harmful to the community, and civil law, concerned with individuals’ rights, duties and obligations towards one another.

Criminal law defines breaches of duty to society in large. It is the society, through government employees called prosecutors, that brings court action against violators. If you are found guilty of a crime such as theft, you will be punished by imprisonment or a fine. When a fine is paid, the money generally goes to the state, not to the victim of the crime.

Private duties owed by one person (including corporations) to another are established by civil law. Suit for the breach of a civil duty must be brought by a person wronged. Generally, the court does not seek to punish the wrongdoer but rather to make the wronged party whole through a money award called damages.

The main subdivisions of civil law are:

law of contract, which regulates, for instance, the sale of goods, loans, partnerships, insurance and guarantees;

family law, including the laws governing marriage, divorce, welfare of children;

law of torts, which governs injuries suffered by one person at the hands of another for instance, negligence, libel and malicious prosecution.

Other branches of the civil law include constitutional and administrative, industrial, maritime and ecclesiastical law.

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