Functions And Role Of Law In Society

Why Do We Need Law In The Society?

Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior. Laws are made by legislatures through legislation or by judges through binding precedents. But why do we need law and what are functions and role of law in society?
Law Books, Functions And Role Of Law

Law is a man-made phenomenon and therefore there is always a choice whether to follow it or not. If you do not follow the law, you will not die, so nature has no bearing on the laws of man. The law is something the human race has created to regulate society by introducing fairness, justice and equality. It is set by courts and governments and applies to everyone within their jurisdiction. There is not an option to opt out. Disobey and there will be consequences.

How can the law help me?

Stabile and fair society is desired for happy and productive life of all individuals. Law performs several functions that are important for the welfare of the society. The functions of the law include:

Defending the society from crime and fraud: The basic function of the law is to help protect us from evil. It will help to protect us from people who are looking for an opportunity to harm us for no apparent reason. Therefore, criminal courts have been created to help judge and pass sentences on people who have been convicted beyond any doubt for having engaged in acts that harmed us. Convicted persons can receive a sentence ranging from several days to a life sentence. On the other hand, civil courts are designed to deal with civil cases. Civil law deals with the disputes and awards compensation to victims. 
Resolve disputes arising from limited resources: As long as you have more than one person living together, be it in a family or community, disputes will often arise in the way limited amount of resources are distributed. Therefore, every community needs a law that will help to resolve such disputes. This will avoid a situation where people are taking matters into their hands to resolve problems. The law ensures peace is sustained in the midst of different opinions.
Promoting common good: The law does not only seek to get the accused to account for their bad and violent actions. People living in a community where everyone is busy pursuing their own self-interest needs a law that will protect their common good. Such a community understands if people acted contrary, everybody would be worse off. Every member in the community must understand when the invisible hand of the law guides them by living life, pursuing their self-interest and the interest of others, the community would be better off. Therefore, a community of self-interested actors needs law to solve 'Prisoner dilemma situations. In addition, the law helps to distribute property into private hands, property that would be exploited by every member of the community and thus preventing a tragedy of common situations arising. The law also prevents the community from acting on the natural desire to revenge for perceived or actual wrongs committed by other people.
Encourage the community to do right: The law plays an important role in encouraging the community to do the right thing. It helps people to appreciate the need of doing right all the time. This explains why many of the laws in most communities contain a large proportion of moral laws - laws that are designed simply and purely to stop members of the community from acting immorally. According to experts, morality is enforced to preserve the society's cohesiveness.

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