Sociology Index

LAW DEFINITION

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. 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 can be regarded collectively as a social system of rules or injunctions that must be obeyed.

Defining the term ‘law’ is impossible because the term changes from time to time and different scholars define the term law variously. Definition of the term law also varies due to the different types of purposes sought to be achieved by such definition. Definitions as many as legal theories.

Law can be defined as a binding practice or rule prescribed by a supreme controlling authority. Max Weber suggests that an order will be called law if it is externally guaranteed by the probability that coercion will bring about conformity or avenge violation.