Law plays a significant role in the successful operation of business and society. Laws regulate social behavior, which leads to a society that runs efficiently. Laws also supply ethical standards and expectations, while providing rules of conduct, measures to enforce those rules, and a means for settling disputes. Other functions of law include: peacekeeping; checking government power and promoting personal freedom; facilitating planning and the realization of reasonable expectations; promoting economic growth through free competition; promoting social justice; and protecting the environment (Mallor, Barnes, Bowers, and Langvardt). It is important to note that without laws to govern the actions of people and businesses, society would not be able to function effectively, and commerce would likely collapse.
Although the general functions of law appear to be rather simple, the United States legal system is actually very complex. Laws are broken down into several different types. These include constitutions, statutes, common law, administrative regulations and decisions, treaties, ordinances, and executive orders.
A constitution is the overriding law, because it establishes the fundamental principles of a government at either the state or federal level. This includes creating the branches of the government, bestowing and refusing certain powers to each branch, and preventing other governmental units from passing certain laws, specifically those which limit individual rights.
Statutes and Common Law
A statute is a law enacted by elected representatives of the legislative branch of government. Administrative regulations are similar to statutes, but are enacted by administrative agencies instead of elected representatives. Common law, on the other hand, is based on prior court decisions. These laws are applied when cases are not governed by other types of law....