Public benefits

Five techniques of law have been identified by Robert Summers to implement certain policies. The use of law; 1) To resolve complaints or problems among members of a society 2) As a punishing instrument 3) As an instrument with which to uphold certain defined actions 4) For controlling a range of governmental public benefits such as education 5) To have an effect on a number of private arrangements between members of a society, a good example of this is the Law of Contract.

From looking at Summers' definition we are able to see that the Law has many functions other than laying down rules and regulations of what we can and cannot do. Law cannot be defined as one factor, as there are many classifications of law which include scientific laws (laws of gravity) and laws created to manage or govern our behaviour. Hart answers the question 'What is Law' by stating that "nothing concise enough to be recognised as a definition could provide a satisfactory answer".

Hart argues that "the underlying issues are too different from each other and too fundamental to be capable of this sort of resolution"(Hart 1994). There many definitions of law, but people that have perhaps very little knowledge of the law may see law as simply a set of rules or regulations although others have viewed law in different ways. The 'Law as rules' approach by Austin has influenced patterns of legal thought throughout this country but it is not the only approach which can be taken within legal study.

Some writers have taken the view that law is best understood by monitoring the actual operation of the legal system in practice whilst other writers have analysed law in terms of a society's cultural and historical background. I believe that everyone will have their own interpretations of law, as some people will see the law as a set of rules or regulations preventing us from carrying out certain activities whereas others will see the law as merely nothing else but a decree for the common good of our world.

I feel that the key understanding to law can be found within people's beliefs, attitudes and prejudices within our system, as law is a set of obligations, rights and duties to one another. Law is too broad a definition to define so therefore I would conclude that Law is not simply about rules and regulations laid down by political institutions but rather a complex of issues. 


Goodrich P. (1986), ' Reading the law' Stychin C. F. (1999), 'Legal Method' Atiyah P. S. (1995), 'Law and modern society' Keenan D. (2001), 'English law' (electronic) Twining W. & Miers D. (1999) 'How to do things with rules'