Law is a social phenomenon that defines people’s behavior, regulates their relations with one another and shapes the structure of their communities. In modern societies, it serves a number of important functions: it defines and protects our rights, provides stability and security, promotes equality and encourages prosperity. However, it is not without its critics. Some philosophers argue that law is not a necessary part of human society. Others, on the other hand, assert that it is a necessary feature of any human community.
Its Coercive Aspect
Law’s obvious coercive nature makes it an object of fierce controversy. Many philosophers have asserted that its normativity resides in this feature; indeed, some of the early legal positivists, such as Bentham and Austin, viewed it as the essential characteristic of law. More recently, though, some critics have questioned this assertion.
They have argued that the coercive aspect of law is not, in fact, what makes it a normative institution. Rather, the main function of law is its ability to establish and enforce a framework of social regulation and direction. This can be accomplished by means of sanctions (i.e. threats of coercive punishment), and this is why it is a distinct type of social institution.
Other critics have emphasized that the main function of law is its ability to provide reasons for action. According to this view, it is important that laws contain explicit and clear rules and prohibitions that provide people with the motivation to comply. This is why law is considered a “rule-of-reason” institution, and why it has the ability to shape our moral attitudes.
In addition, this view has emphasized that laws are inherently rational, because they aim to achieve the highest good for all individuals. This, in turn, promotes the stability of the state and the well-being of its citizens.
Its Fixed Principles
Law provides a degree of uniformity and certainty to the administration of justice. The existence of fixed principles enables judges to be unbiased and avoid arbitrary, biased or dishonest decisions. It also protects the public from the errors of individual judges.
Despite its controversial aspects, there are many reasons why law should be regarded as a necessary institution. Among other things, it has been a source of social order and harmony, provided a stable economic environment, and prevented wars.
The study of law cultivates a number of valuable skills that can be applied in a variety of sectors and professions. These include strong problem-solving abilities, great communication skills and the ability to adapt quickly to career transitions. These traits make it easier for lawyers to advance in their careers. If you enjoy intellectual challenges and are interested in making a difference in society, then the study of law may be right for you. It is an incredibly rewarding career choice that will take hard work and dedication. But it will ultimately provide a high-paying and fulfilling career. Learn more about the benefits of a law degree by downloading our free ebook: The Top 10 Reasons to Study Law.