Functions and Role of Law

Essay by lucinicCollege, Undergraduate March 2008

download word file, 3 pages 0.0

Law is comprised of statutes and precedents, leading to rules that tell how to act in business and society. Law continues to grow and expand. Law is open to reason and interpretation. Law performs many functions and plays a central role in business and society. The function of law is to establish rule of conduct, protect the rights and freedoms of citizens, and to provide protection for society.

Law can be classified as criminal or civil. Criminal law is concerned about protecting society from people who commit crimes as prescribed by the common and statutory laws. In criminal cases the prosecution represents the public or society in taking legal action against the party whom it considers to have committed a crime and seeks to have that party punished. Civil law is basically law of a state outlining the rights of private citizens. Likewise, the dispute is launched against an individual or between individuals.

In contrast to a criminal case, a civil case is brought against the courts by private individuals called the plaintiff. "Even though the civil law and the criminal law are distinct bodies of law, the same behavior will sometimes violate both" (Mallor, Barnes, Bowers, Langvardt, 2003, p.8).

Law is constantly changing and evolving but serves several constant roles in society.

One of the functions of law is peacekeeping. Laws, such as criminal and laws, serve to resolve disputes between parties. Another function of law is to check government power and promote personal freedom through constitutional restrictions. Laws also assist in the facilitation of planning and realization of reasonable expectations using contract law. Antitrust laws promote economic growth through free competition. Laws allow governments to promote social justice, giving all citizens equal access to life's basic goods. Law allows the government to protect the environment (Mallor et al,