The nation’s highest court, the Supreme Court employs some of the highest sitting judges of the nation; it is such a prestigious position in fact the President of the United States chooses you for the position. Judge William O. Douglas stands as the longest serving Supreme Court justice, and one of his most famous quotes is “Common sense often makes good law” (Academic Dictionaries and Encyclopedias, 2010). That statement defines what the law and laws are: the rules and regulations that follow the logic of common sense. Laws serve the public and maintain several roles in society.
The Function of Law Law is a “body of rules of actions or conducts prescribed by a controlling authority and having legal binding force” (Melvin, 2011). The law as we know it is essentially rules and regulations used by the governing body to provide aid in determining how society is to conduct themselves, handle domestic disputes, and handle criminal actions. It is also responsible for how those responsible for upholding the law conduct themselves.
The law is responsible for shaping and maintaining the integrity of politics, economics, and society, while serving as a mediator to the relationships of people. Law has a large role in how society determines its ethical standards and how we conduct our daily lives. These functions include but are not limited to promoting social justice, economic growth, and personal freedoms, keeping the peace, protecting the environment, and even keeping the government’s power in check. Without these functions in our society, anarchy and chaos would rein supreme. An effective society would be unable to function, resulting in the collapse of economic commerce and function.
The Roles of Law Law serves many different functions in our society. These laws can be broken down into three different classifications: ➢Criminal and Civil Laws ➢Substantive and Procedural Laws ➢Public and Private Laws
Without a functioning law system in society, people would have little choice but to fight for any rights they think they should be entitled too. While modern American’s have not ever had to experience this, there was a time in the founding of this country that this was exactly the situation. Before certain states were established and society formed within the regulations of federal law, might, physical attributes, and even the fastest gun determined who owned property or territories.
With the introduction of law, a system was in place that firmly upheld ownership of land and property despite how much physical or political power they held. No matter which area of law, law offered peace and security to the citizens, and the confidence they needed to enter into contracts, borrow money, or make agreements even if they did not know the parties they were doing business with personally (Bastiat, 2007).
When talking about entering into business with people we do not personally know, we have to look into what that means. All parties involved in a business transaction rather in the same community or clearly, the whole world cannot know each other personally. The laws or international trade allows the free movement of manufactured products throughout the world. Without international trade laws in place, people or a business would have no way of enforcing a contract, receiving their money back, or even the return of their unused products. These laws are the responsibility of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (HG.org Legal Directories, 2011).
For society as a whole, the law establishes the rules of interaction. The law is not about setting moral standards, however in many ways the law provides a minimum protection for people. The protection covers what society sees as right and wrong, and provides as a guide to what people know they can and cannot do, as well as what they should and should not do. This keeps “law and order”, allowing society as whole to function and progress without the non-stop disagreements that would create discontent on a massive scale. An example of how this works is prevalent in many third-world countries still today, most commonly seen in Africa.
No countries laws will ever be perfect, but law does provide stability to a nation. This stability allows for people and business to address conflicts with confidence, the confidence that justice will prevail and determine who is wrong or right. While the idea of “justice” is in the eye of the beholder, this idea in America has created a nation of enormous businesses able to operate under protections that their products and rights have certain protections under law. This has created a breeding ground for businesses to establish and amass enormous fortunes. These businesses can operate and create wealth because of the confidence they can maintain in the legal system protecting them.
The law is also responsible for creating protections for everyone’s individual rights as a citizen. The election of a new president (or re-election of the same) is a right, just as our right to vote. Elections allow the leaders to take office due to a majority, avoiding massive protest. “The majority has spoken” is law of elections. The rights of all citizens in America are in the Constitution of the United States.
The government power, political power, upholders of the law and citizens are all giving their rights and responsibilities through the Bill of Rights. It guides us in what we can do, what we cannot do, and what we can do to each other. With these laws in place, the country has been able to operate successfully for two hundred years (www.constitution.org, 2011). Law and the Work Environment
In modern times, each job industry has certain protections under law, and they have to uphold the law on a federal, state, and local level. There are laws that protect potential employees from discrimination (race, sex, gender, orientation, or religious preference), thus giving everyone a fair chance to obtain employment. Businesses are to uphold the law from hiring new employees, paying taxes, withholding taxes, and rights of employees. Laws in business and industry will vary depending on what function they work under, but the same equal rights apply to everyone.
An example of how different laws affect different industries, consider the environmental and wildlife industry. The role of environmental law regulates the interaction of humanity within the environment, with a purpose of reducing the impact people leave behind. Environmental law comes in many forms: ➢Treaties
➢Conventions ➢Statutes ➢Regulations ➢Common law With such a broad spectrum of environmental law, there is no “master list” of environmental law. Depending on the industry and location, the laws will vary accordingly (www.environmental-law.org, 2011).
Conclusion Laws are relevant in business as well as society, and their functions are important to everyone. Laws protect the rights and the interest of society. Every form of government around the world creates and upholds laws, generally with the intentions to protect its citizens from undue hardship and general unfairness. With law, we can ensure a functional society operating in peace and prosperity. Without the law, the world would be the like the wild west, where the fastest gun determined who was right or who owned property.
References Academic Dictionaries and Encyclopedias. (2010). Common Sense often makes good law. Retrieved from http://law.academic.ru/4073/Common_sense_often_makes_good_law. Bastiat, F. (2007). The Law. Auburn, AL: Ludwig von Mises Institute (www.mises.org). HG.org Legal Directories. (2011). Trade Regulation Law - Guide to International Trade Law. Retrieved from http://www.hg.org/trade.html Melvin, S. P. (2011). The Legal Environment of Business: A Managerial Approach: Theory to Practice (Rev ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill/Irwin. www.constitution.org. (2011). [Bill of Rights]. Retrieved from http://www.constitution.org/billofr_.htm www.environmental-law.org. (2011). Environmental Laws 101. Retrieved from http://www.environmental-law.org/environmental-laws/
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