10 Reasons Why Law Is Important

Law” is a system of rules designed to regulate behavior in both public and private society. Social and/or governmental institutions create and enforce these rules. Humans have been making laws for thousands of years. Early examples include ancient Egyptian law, Babylonian law, ancient Chinese law, and Old Testament law. There are many categories of law, including criminal law, civil law, and so on. Why does law matter at all? Here are ten reasons why:

#1 Laws set the standard for acceptable (and unacceptable) behaviors

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At its most basic, the law is about mitigating conflict. When creating laws, societies reckon with what drives conflict. Some things – like murder and theft- are obvious and have been included in laws stretching back to ancient times. However, as time goes on and societies change, what’s considered acceptable changes, too. Legal systems adapt so they can provide clarity and context for unacceptable actions. They also offer guidelines for appropriate consequences.

#2 Laws provide access to justice

If it’s against the law to punch someone in the face, someone who gets punched can do something about it other than simply swinging back. In a perfect world, justice is equal. It doesn’t matter who got punched or who did the punching. What matters is that the law against punching was broken. Everyone in a society – and not just a privileged few – must have equal access to justice through the law.

#3 Laws keep everyone safe

Laws don’t only respond to injustices and harm. They work to prevent them. Food safety laws are a prime example. In the past, the food industry was horrendously unregulated. In the 18th and 19th centuries, American food producers went to extreme measures in their quest for profit. They watered down milk and stirred in materials like chalk for color. They mixed dirt into coffee, tea, and spices and added lead to beer and wine. In 1906, President Roosevelt and Congress passed the Pure Food and Drug Act, as well as the Meat Inspection Act. This marked the beginning of modern food safety and monitoring. Today, food safety laws protect the public from potentially-fatal food poisoning.

#4 Laws protect the most vulnerable in society

Many laws are specifically designed to protect certain groups of people. Laws like the Civil Rights Act (the United States) and the Sex Discrimination Act (Australia) make it illegal to discriminate. These types of laws protect what’s known as “negative rights,” which is the right to be free from something, like discrimination. Anyone can be discriminated against, but as history shows, certain people are more at risk. Laws designed to prevent discrimination based on race, sex, gender, religion, and more protect these groups and give them better access to justice.

#5 The process of creating laws encourages civil and political engagement

As societies change, laws must change, too. Advancements in technology are a prime example of why. In recent times, revenge porn has become a major issue. According to one study, around 10 million Americans have had explicit photos shared without consent. While there are state laws, there is no federal law. In Australia, an electronic petition called upon the A.C.T. Legislative Assembly to criminalize revenge porn. The Assembly listened. This is a great example of people engaging with the law-making process and making law matter as issues evolve.

#6 Laws offers people a variety of career options

As a career, law is varied and versatile. Because there are so many different areas of law, there are hundreds of job options. Lawyers can specialize in everything from contracts to immigration to criminal law. A person can also become a professor of law, while there are also jobs for paralegals, consultants, and researchers. The legal system is big, so there is room for all kinds of skills and expertise.

#7 Laws are important to maintain peace

Earlier in this article, we touched on how law is essentially about mitigating conflict. That makes law essential to maintaining peace. This is because injustice fuels conflict. If destructive behaviors are allowed to flourish without remedy, people will suffer and become dissatisfied with their government. If justice is applied unequally, this also fans the flames of conflict. For the sake of peace, societies need to strengthen their rule of law and ensure that it’s fair.

#8 Laws are important for social progress

We’ve discussed how legal systems should adapt and evolve with the times. If laws remained stagnant, so would societies. Throughout history, law has been employed as a tool for social change. It was laws that made slavery, segregation, and apartheid illegal. Laws prevent people from getting fired from their jobs because of who they marry or because of a disability. The concept of law as a mechanism for social change is complicated because if the majority of a community doesn’t agree with the law, it’s likely that the law won’t be enforced. However, having a law on the books gives people more power than if the law didn’t exist at all. It’s an important step (though not necessarily the final step) to real social change.

#9 Laws make human rights a reality

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor once said, “I firmly believe in the rule of law as the foundation for all our basic rights.” Basic rights are the human rights that everyone is entitled to. This includes the right to life, the right to marry, the right to be free from discrimination, and more. These are listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but that document is not legally binding. To make human rights a reality, they have to be protected through laws. Without law, human rights would be an abstract concept.

#10 Laws are not always good for society

The fact that law can be used to harm is the last reason why it’s so important. Laws are not always beneficial to society or they’re only beneficial to a select group. Governments often use laws to increase their power and punish critics. Laws can also be problematic when they fail to address the root causes of a problem and even end up making it worse. Fines, which are meant to encourage people to follow laws, can add up to the point of putting people in debt and criminalizing poverty. The war on drugs is another key example of how laws can hurt people. Instead of treating drug addiction as a public health issue, laws have turned it into a criminal one. In these cases, laws end up violating human rights instead of protecting them.

5 Basic Functions of Law in the Society

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Functions of law in the society: Law has a wide and strict meaning. Law defined in a wide sense, simply means a rule of action. That is, a rule to which actions conform or should confrom. It is in this wide meaning of law that we talk of science such as the Ohms Law of Electricity and Charles Law of Logic, Economics, Psychology and so on.
We are not, however, concerned with the definition of law in its wide sense. Law defined in the narrow or strict sense is the subject of the study by law students and legal practonioners.

In this narrow sense, Law becomes a complex phenomenon without any generally accepted defination. An attempt to define Law may be colored by the perception or background of the person attempting the defination.

Thus, a defination of law may be more interested in looking at law from a sociological perspective (that is, its effect on society), or historical perpective (that is, the history of law, or theological perspective (that is, the religious role of law), or analytical perspective (that is, law uninfluenced by any meta-legal considration).

Law can also be defined by looking at its contents. In the sense, the person attempting to define Law may not agree to the contents of Law. It may be looked at as set of particular rules recognized by judges, while some others may look at it as the entire legal system which will include, in addition to the above, the parliament, the court system, the legal prefession, the police and the bureaucracy that services the system.

It may also be said by yet a few others to include the entire legal processes (making of Acts of Parlisment, delegated legislation and adjudication by judges).
We shall, however, adopt for our purpose, Professor James’s defination of Law as a body of rules for the guidance of human conduct which are imposed upon and enforced among the members of a given state. The object of such laws is to enforce certain standards of behaviour among citizens.

Functions of Law

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Law carries out a lot of functions in a modern state. It serves as a means od social control, assisted by such other means as public opinion (morality), religion, education and custom. However, Law is the mostinstitutionalized means of social control in the society. The social funtions of law are varied:

(1) Law maintains public order, orderwise called “law and morality” in the society. 

In the absense of law, private feud and vengeance supplement the informal social process by which man and groups deal wit disputes. Law evolved to supplement the informal alternatives and provides an acceptable rationalized and conclusive settlement of dispute which is subject to public scrutiny. Apart from maintaining of public order, law also suppress deviant behaviour through provision of rules prohibiting certain deviant behaviour and the enforcement of such rules. The criminal law is especially apposite her.

(2) Law facilitates co-operation action between persons in society and recognizes such action. 

It recognizes certain basic underlying interests in society such as the various interests in property and proviseds a framework of rules for giving effect to them and protecting them; for instance, through traspass.

It provides a system of transfer of right and interests (such as in contract and inheritance) and also reconizes ans gives effect to the voluntary formation of groups for peacful purposes such as associations, companies and trust.

(3) Law constitutes and recognizes the principal organs of power in the state.

It provides for seccession to power and defines who has the right to excercise what kind of power in society. The power so recognised by law turns round to make law in the society. Thus, while the law creates the state, the state creates the law

(4) law communicates and reinforces social values in the society. 

Social values are the morals of the society. Law assist the society by identifying these values, ensuring that they are communicated to the society and, if necessary, that they are enforced by the state.

While alcoholism may not be morally acceptable in a given state, unless the law bans alcoholism, it remains inoffensive. The moral reprehension to it may grow so much that will then beused to enforce the moral punishable with imprisonment or fine. Law has always enforced morality.

With the growthof welfare state and collectivism, a wide range of matter formerly left to the individual conscience has now been made the subject of staet control through law.

Parliament has also at times legislated to regulate behaviour in advance of publicopinion and has used the law partly as an educative medium on social issues as capital punishment, sex, and tribe equality and the dangers of smoking and illicit sex.

(5) Law also provide certain basic and fundamental freedoms for the people. 

These freedom which are rooted in the social contract theory of government, includes freedom of life, property, association and so on. Recently, attemts have been made to extend these freedom to include such welfare issues as free eduction, minimum standards of living and so on.

These are the basic functions of law in every society. It is important to note also that law is inevitable for any society to grow. With the points which have been mentioned and discussed above, it is undoubtedly clear that law play a vital role to ensure growth in the society.

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The Purpose of Law and Its Functions In Society

It is easy to understand how important laws are if you imagine a society trying to function without them. There is no way for one legal system to cover every situation because individuals and circumstances are unique.

In the U.S., there are a wide variety of laws, including laws created by legislatures, those created by administrative agencies, and laws created from tradition, or common law. Then there is a court system to help decide which laws apply in each situation and how the laws should be interpreted. It seems like a lot of rules, but all of them are important to help protect us in our day-to-day lives.

Functions of Law

Law fulfills several important functions, but these four are the most important:  

  1. Laws protect individual rights and liberties. The Bill of Rights was added to the U.S. Constitution to guarantee several important protections. The laws protect individuals from other individuals, from organizations, and even from the government. The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights prohibits the government from making any law that would interfere with an individual’s right to free speech. There are some exceptions based on what is considered free speech.
  2. Laws provide a framework and rules to help resolve disputes between individuals. Laws create a system where individuals can bring their disputes before an impartial fact-finder, such as a judge or jury. There are also legal alternatives where individuals work together to find a solution, such as by using alternative dispute resolution (ADR). There are courts at every level, from local to federal, to decide who should win in a dispute.
  3. Without laws, there would be no way to set standards. It is easy enough to see why murder and theft are crimes, but laws also provide a framework for setting many other kinds of standards. Without the Federal Code of Regulations, it would be difficult for individuals or businesses to transact businesses using banks. Federal regulations provide enforceable rules and protections regarding taxes, commercial transactions, employment laws, insurance, and other important areas.
  4. Laws help societies to maintain order. What would society be like without the rule of law? You might need to provide your own protection because there would be no police force or army.  Without federal banking protections, you might need to find other ways to get what you couldn’t provide for yourself. With the structure and organization of laws come order and predictability. Individuals can feel safe, leading to wider social structures and greater productivity.

Purpose of Business Law

Business law is unique because it has so many aspects of other areas of law. In order to understand such a complex subject, attorneys must understand diverse areas like commercial transactions, employment law, business formation and dissolution, and insurance law. Business law helps to protect not just the businesses but the owners, employees, and customers of the businesses.

Show Me Your Papers Law: Harassment of Immigrants

The Texas “show me your papers” law, otherwise known as Senate Bill 4, is one of the harshest bills impacting immigrants in the United States. Essentially, this is a discriminatory law that makes racial profiling an acceptable practice for law enforcement officials.

Understanding the Law

Senate Bill 4 gives police the ability to investigate the immigration status of any person they arrest or detain, including witnesses or victims of a crime. Under SB 4, even a passenger in a car pulled over for speeding could have his or her immigration status questioned.

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SB 4 also requires sheriffs and police chiefs to honor any detainer requests from ICE or face significant penalties. As a result of this part of the law, anyone who been picked up by police and found to be an undocumented immigrant must be held if ICE wants to pick them up.

Limitations of the “Show Me Your Papers” Law

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Although SB 4 gives police and ICE a lot more power, there are also limitations. For example, this law does not apply in mental health centers, community centers, hospital districts, open-enrollment charter schools, or school districts. It is also important to remember that ICE has a policy that prevents the agency from engaging in enforcement action during public demonstrations, as well as in sensitive locations such as places of worship. Furthermore, immigrants should be aware that student education records are confidential, and that it is illegal for school police to inquire about the immigration status of a student or parent unless it is permitted by federal law.

Negative Impacts of the Law

At first glance, it is already easy to see that this law provides law enforcement officials with far too much power. However, the full impact of this law will be even more destructive than people may expect. Some issues caused by this law include:

1. A large majority of Texans now fall under suspicion.

Texas communities are largely composed of people of color, including immigrants. Under SB 4, the immigration status of any person can be questioned. Because people of color are more likely to be immigrants, anyone of color is now vulnerable to frequent and unfair interrogations from police.

2. Relationships between immigrant communities and local law enforcement suffer.

Because of the fear inspired by SB 4, members of immigrant communities may no longer trust police as much as they once did. This means that they won’t be as likely to report crimes and/or cooperate with law enforcement officials.

3. The law does not target criminals.

Some defendants of the bill have stated that SB 4 is targeted toward criminals who are negatively impacting life in the state. However, the bill allows police to target anyone, even if they haven’t broken the law in any way.

4. The law can be misinterpreted.

Although there are clear limitations to the enforcement of SB 4, there have already been instances where it was misinterpreted, thus leading to the unlawful detainment of undocumented immigrants in Texas. This experience is traumatic and time-consuming for victims and their families.

Help for Immigrants

Immigrants in Dallas and the surrounding area are undoubtedly nervous about the effects of the “Show Me Your Papers Law.” However, if your green card or visa paperwork is in order, you won’t have to worry about being deported. For this reason, it’s important to have a knowledgeable immigration attorney help you make sure that your visa or green card paperwork has been properly filed and that your visa has not expired.

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At Hernandez Law Group, P.C., we’re dedicated to helping immigrants. Whether you’re looking to apply for or renew a visa, green card, or citizenship, we’re here to help. When you have us guide you through the filing process, you’ll never have to worry about this kind of harassment leading to deportation.