Law is a field that focuses on the rules of the legal system. There are different types of law, including civil law and criminal law. Law is a fundamental truth of our world, but it cannot explain why things happen. However, there are a variety of ways that law can protect us from wrongdoing.
Principles of the Rule of Law
The Principles of the Rule of Law are the foundations of constitutional democracy and protect citizens’ rights to equal treatment before the law. This institution and practice helps ensure that the power of the state is not arbitrary, but should be exercised with the consent of the people. The rule of law is defined as an ideal in which laws are made by representatives of the people and can be known by all citizens. In addition, the Rule of Law guarantees that everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty and that no one can be forced to give their opinion.
Although the Rule of Law is a purely formal idea, it is a powerful one. It takes the edge off power, making it less arbitrary, peremptory, and unpredictable. It also establishes a bond of reciprocity and mutual constraint, which mitigates the asymmetry of political power.
The formal aspects of law are the features of the legal system that are separate from the substantive content of the law. They are often referred to as procedural aspects, and their presence or absence can have important implications for society. These formal features are generally designed to protect citizens and limit the power of government. These features also distinguish formal law from informal law. In the United States, for example, there is a Constitution that outlines the rights and responsibilities of citizens. The absence of these formal features can lead to illegitimate and ineffective justice.
Legal philosophy and legal theory often take an interest in formal aspects of law. These aspects of law govern the way legal proceedings are conducted and ensure that justice is rendered fairly. They also make law more practical by clarifying the practical effects of proposed legislation.
Substantive values in law are the principles by which the law is applied by judges and lawmakers. These are not procedural rules, but important social values that should not be ignored by good jurists. For example, one substantive value is equality. In applying substantive law, judges analyze case law, statutory laws, and precedents to apply these values. The primary objective of a judge is to apply rules and the values of society.
The concept of equality is difficult to define in prescriptive terms, but it is important as a framing device for social debates. The distinction between substantive equality and procedural equality is crucial, as substantive equality entails the same treatment for all participants, while procedural equality involves a difference in treatment.