The Concept of Law
Law is the system of rules that governs people, businesses and communities. The laws that we follow help us to live safe and happy lives. They also protect basic individual rights and freedoms, such as liberty and equality.
The concept of law is very old, dating back at least to the time of ancient Greece and Rome. There are many different types of laws. These vary by region, time and social status.
Common types of law include criminal and civil law. The latter includes contracts, property and torts. Other topics covered by law are inheritance, tax, family and labour law.
Legal systems are based on principles of morality and ethics, which often reflect the traditional views of natural law and deontology. For example, some philosophers have argued that all human beings have fundamental moral rights, which are inalienable and not dependent on enforcement or social convention or recognition.
Others, however, argue that there are limits to human rights and that they should be limited by socially accepted norms, such as those of the public, or even by legal precedents. In other words, law should be based on an ideal of treating the person as the primary unit of concern in law making.
Another way of viewing the relationship between law and morality is in terms of observer-centricity, which views the legal world as a system of relations rather than an objective truth. In other words, the way law works is not rooted in the perspective of the lawyer or the judge but the view of the observer of the case at hand (for example, Alice or Bob).
A number of philosophers have argued that the concept of justice requires that there be a fair and balanced system of justice. This is often referred to as the principle of equal protection under the law.
This is a key idea behind the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that all people should have the right to equality and justice in the administration of public affairs. In practice, this means that everyone should have the right to a fair trial and the right to be free from arbitrary punishment or discrimination in any aspect of life.
The judicial system of any country is made up of courts, which try cases and enforce laws. They are often staffed by judges, who are qualified to decide legal cases by either a legal education or by special qualifications, such as the Juris Doctor degree.
Laws that are applied to a nation or country can be used 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 work better than others in these areas.
For instance, authoritarian governments are more likely to oppress minorities or political opponents than democratic governments. But, on the whole, most legal systems serve these purposes well.
Laws are a vital part of society. They are created by government, and are a way of controlling things like crime, business agreements, and social relationships.