What is Law - Definition, Purpose and Sense of Law

Sat, 08/13/2011 - 12:41 -- Umar Farooq

What is Law

Law is a social science grows and develops with the growth and development of society. New developments in society create new problems and law is required to deal with those problems. According dictionary definition of Law, it means a rule established by authority or by custom. It regulates the behaviors of a community, Country, etc. In other words, it is the legislative pronouncements of the rules which should guide one’s action in society. To say, it is a rule of action to which human beings conduct must conform.

Definitions of Law

Salmond Definition of Law

“The body of principles recognized and applied by the state in the administration of justice". In other words, it is consisted of the rules recognized and acted upon by the court of justice.

Blackstone Definition

"Law in its most general and comprehensive sense means a rule of action or actions whether animate or inanimate, rational or irrational. Thus we say, the law of motion, gravitation, nature and of nation.

Austin definition of Law

In the widest sense, Law is a rule laid down for the guidance of an intelligent being by an intelligent being having power over him". Or "It is the aggregate of rules set by men as politically superior or sovereign to men as politically inferior.

Sense of Law

Broadly speaking there are two sense of law, has been used

  • General sense
  • Juridical sense  

General Sense of Law

General sense of law denotes uniformity and regularity of action According to Dr. Salmond "In its widest sense the term law includes rule of action." That is to say, the relation derived from the nature of things. Hence general laws may fall into three classes.

  • Divine Laws. While These relate to the will of the supernatural power and thus they are a part of the science of theology.
  • Physical Laws. These are expressions of the uniformities of nature such as law of motion,or gravitation.
  • Human Laws. These are laws by analogy and may be further subdivided into two classes

Juridical Sense of Law

According to Prof. Flalland, “law in proper Sense is a general rule of external action enforced by a determinate authority which is human and paramount in a political society."

Purpose of Law

According to Roscoe Pound there are four purposes of law

  1. To maintain law and order within a society
  2. To maintain the status-quo in society
  3. To enable individuals to have the maximum freedom
  4. The maximum satisfaction of the needs of the people