Functions of Law

Law is a system of legal rules and principles that regulates the relationships between people, organizations, and governments. It is a complex subject that includes multiple branches of study and is a major contributor to society’s well-being.

The primary functions of law are to keep the peace, maintain the status quo, preserve individual rights, protect minorities against majorities, promote social justice, and provide for orderly social change. Although some legal systems serve these functions better than others, the basic elements of each system are similar and can be classified under five broad categories:

a) Public Policy

In most nations, law is made by a government that has been chosen to govern the people. Some governments are authoritarian, whereas others are democratically elected by the people.

b) Preservation of Individual Rights

Every person has the right to be free from arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, and correspondence. This right also extends to protection against attacks on his honour and reputation, whether in his home or abroad.

c) Protection of Social Equity

The main function of law is to protect the dignity of everyone, especially the poor and vulnerable. This is accomplished through the application of rules that ensure that all citizens are treated equally.

d) Promotion of Social Justice

The law also serves to ensure that everyone has access to education, health care, housing, and other necessary services. Likewise, the law protects people from exploitation and abuse in the workplace.

e) Regulation of Economic Activities

The legal system is often the primary determinant of economic activity in a country. This can include regulating trade and commerce, setting minimum wage standards, and enforcing contracts.

f) Labour Relations

The legal relationship between workers, employers, and unions is also called the tripartite industrial relationship, and involves collective bargaining regulation, and the right to strike.

g) Regulation of Financial Activities

The law also regulates financial transactions, including banks and insurance companies. This includes laws governing the amount of money that can be loaned, the minimum capital requirement for banks, and rules on how to avoid the risk of bankruptcy.

h) Civil Procedure

The procedure for judicial proceedings is also a key aspect of the study of law. These procedures involve court hearings, trial, and appeal.

i) Trial and Courtroom Skills

Aside from the judicial duties of the judge, there are many other roles that are required for effective trials. A judge usually has a law clerk and librarian to assist him in research, drafting opinions, and meeting the informational needs of the courtroom.

j) Legal Process

The law is a complex, constantly changing system that requires constant monitoring and review to ensure it works properly. This is why judges and lawyers are responsible for monitoring the law and making sure it is being followed.

Lawyers are a distinct professional class who have a legal obligation to maintain their professionalism by passing certain examinations, earning a degree (such as a Bachelor of Laws or Juris Doctor), and obtaining a license to practice law. They are regulated by either the government or an independent regulating body such as a bar association, bar council or law society.

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