Roles and Functions of Law
“It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important.” Martin Luther King Jr.
BusinessDictionary.com (2013) defines law as
The binding rules of conduct meant to enforce justice and prescribe duty or obligation, and derived largely from custom or formal enactment by a ruler or legislature. These laws carry with them the power and authority of the enactor, and associated penalties for failure or refusal to obey. Law derives its legitimacy ultimately from universally accepted principles such as the essential justness of the rules, or the sovereign power of a parliament to enact them.
Laws are guidelines and policies set in place to keep order. As the quote states the laws will not necessarily change ones feelings or thoughts about a specific person, place or thing, however the laws must be followed or there are consequences. Without laws people would not be held liable for their actions. American laws were originally outlined from Christianity which helped to reiterate the morals within everyone. Laws have many roles and functions in business and society.
Roles of Law
The sole purpose of business is to produce and sell goods to customers. These laws are in place to not only protect the business and its employees but also to protect the consumers. There are three classifications of law that affect both business and society; criminal and civil, substantive and procedural, and public and private.
Criminal law is the law in which the government will prosecute a person that is guilty of committing a crime such as theft, murder, and selling drugs. Civil law is the law through which individuals settle non criminal disputes such as contracts, divorce, and child support. “Substantive law refers to the body of rules that determine the rights and obligations of individuals and collective bodies. Procedural law is the body of legal rules that govern the process for determining the rights of parties”(The People’s law dictionary, 2005). For example under substantive law, murder is not just murder. Substantive law will view the degree of the murder and determine the level of punishment. Whereas procedural law does not make a determination of the murder but the process of which the decision will be executed. Public law is the relationship between an individual and the government, and private law is the relationship between individuals or groups. An example of private law is a contract between two individuals. An example of public law is criminal law because that is between the person accused of the crime and the government.
Functions of Law
Law is put in place by the government to create order. According to the text, the most important functions of law are: Peacekeeping, checking government power and promoting personal freedom, facilitating planning and the realization of reasonable expectations, promoting economic growth through free competition, promoting social justice, and protecting the environment. These functions help the government to protect individuals and businesses. (Mallor, 2004)