The Purpose of Law


Law is the set of all enforceable rules and precepts that govern human society in a given jurisdiction. It is a source of scholarly inquiry in history, philosophy, political science and economic analysis. It also raises important issues about justice, equality and fairness. The most fundamental purpose of the law is to provide a mechanism for resolving disputes. This function can be accomplished by formal means through the legal system, or informal means such as family and community arbitration and negotiation.

Law sets the standards and maintains order in a society comprised of people with many different needs, wants and values. This is the main reason that law exists in all societies. However, the law has many other functions such as providing a formal mechanism for resolving disputes, protecting property, and preserving liberty and rights.

Formal sources of law include statutes or legislation, judicial precedent, and customs. Judges are bound to use these sources of law when deciding cases. In addition to these binding sources, judges are also allowed to consider persuasive sources such as foreign judgments, principles of equity and justice, and professional opinions.

A judge’s decision in a case becomes part of the law when it is upheld by a higher court in a subsequent appeal. This is known as binding precedent and enables the courts to be consistent in their decisions. However, the courts must weigh these sources of law against their own views and interests. If the judge feels that a particular decision is unjust, he or she may not follow it.

The law is enforced by a variety of public and private agencies such as police departments, the military, and court systems. These agencies and institutions must be transparent and accountable in the way they operate.

The law is a vital source of morality and guidance for citizens in the United States. It regulates the conduct of individuals and companies and ensures the safety and security of citizens. It protects property, regulates commerce and industry, provides justice, and sets standards of behavior for all citizens. This is why the United States has one of the most complex and effective legal systems in the world.