Introduction to law
Law may be defined as the rule of conduct or procedure established by custom, agreement, or authority. It is a binding custom or practice of a community; a rule or mode of conduct or action that is prescribed or formally recognized as binding by a controlling authority. It has a certain purpose. It is the forcible means. It determines the behavior of the government, organizations, and general people.
Basic Features/Characteristics of Law
The following are some of the notable features of the law.
1. Written form:
Laws are written order or instructions. They provide directions for human and institutional behavior. However, some laws may be in implied form.
Laws have a certain purpose or intent which is called the spirit of the law. Spirit shows its usefulness. It is the reason for its existence.
Laws are the forcible means. They attempt to regulate or change the behavior of individuals and institutions. Fines and imprisonment are examples of mechanisms that may be used as the forcible sanction of law.
Enforcement of laws requires resources. To accumulate resources, the government enforces additional laws to raise revenue through sanctions such as taxes, fees, and fines.
5. Side effects:
Laws may produce unintended side effects. For example, human rights, and quality of life standards of the people may be unintentionally degraded when a law is enforced.
The performance of a law is its problem-solving benefit minus the measured sum of its burdens (restrictions, costs, and side effects). If the net benefit (benefit minus burdens) is positive, the law is useful.
Laws may fail in their objective. They may also incur excessive costs or produce unacceptable side effects. However, they may be amended or repealed as necessary.