Law is the system of rules a particular community recognizes as regulating its members’ conduct. It is not a mere collection of commands or prohibitions but a set of principles that order human life and organize the social environment. Its purpose is to establish standards and ensure justice, whether distributive or corrective, i.e. the distribution of social benefits to those who are deprived and the correction of wrongs. This is the idealistic definition of law by Romans and other ancient jurists. The actual legal landscape, however, differs from nation to nation. In unstable or authoritarian regimes the law may fail to serve its primary functions such as keeping peace, maintaining status quo, resolving disputes and protecting liberties and rights.
What are the Sources of Law?
There are various theories about the genesis of law. Some view it as a manifestation of societal norms and beliefs, while others suggest that law is natural and spontaneous. Still others focus on the power of a representative body to bring about laws that effectuate societal norms. The most common view of law is that it consists of a set of rules and regulations enforced by the State or its representatives. This approach emphasizes the notion of accountability, equality before the law and participation in decision-making as well as transparency and legal certainty. Max Weber reshaped thinking on the extension of state power, and modern issues such as militarization, police powers and bureaucratic authority pose challenges to this line of thought that are difficult to solve.