What is Law?

Law is a system of rules followed by a government or society that deals with crime, trade, social relations, property and finance. It is generally agreed by most jurists that the purpose and function of law is to secure justice. This is achieved by ensuring that those with legitimate legal rights are not discriminated against and that all have access to effective justice, even if they do not have the means to obtain it.

It can also be used more broadly to refer to a whole body of laws, such as those of a nation. The term can thus be applied to a country’s laws in general, the constitution of a country, and the judicial system.

Many different definitions of Law have been put forward by a variety of scholars. Some of these are more idealistic and others are more pragmatic.

For example, Roman jurists defined law as the regime of adjusting relationships and ordering conduct through the systematic application of the force of organized political society. Salmond defined it as the body of principles recognized and applied by the State in the administration of justice. Hans Kelsen defined law as a hierarchy of norms and the highest norm is known as the grundnorm.

Other theorists such as Blackstone believed that judges were the depositories of the law and they must decide cases according to its meaning. It is therefore important that judges do not show any favouritism or bias in their judgments.