Sociology Index

LAW - DEFINITION OF LAW

The definition of law is that law is the body of rules, whether formally enacted or customary, which a particular State or community recognizes as governing the actions of its subjects or members and which it may enforce by imposing penalties.

Law is a body of rules or norms passed by a legislated authority and enforced by an authorized and specialized body. Law clearly identifies the defining characteristic of the state - the ability to establish and legitimately use coercion to enforce a framework of social regulation and direction.

The state, by passing law and having the authority to force compliance, can coerce citizens to act in particular ways (or leave the country). Not all societies have law.

While all large-scale, modern societies have law it was not found among hunter-gatherer, pastoral or horticultural societies. In these societies social life was regulated primarily by custom and tradition.

Laws regarded collectively as a social system; rules or injunctions that must be obeyed; something which has the binding force or effect of laws.

Laws regarded as a class of objects or as a subject of study; that department of knowledge of which laws are the subject-matter; Jurisprudence.