Defining Law

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Topics: Law
Defining law is a problematic endeavour as it severs different functions, derives from different origins, signifies various things for different people, and effects everyone differently. Albeit of these factors, many have endeavored to do so, as law has such a prominent structure for all interactions. The changing nature of society means that there is an inherent change to law, “law must be stable; yet it cannot stand still” and, therefore, as something is constantly changing it derives and ever-changing definition. However, the inherent wavering has not deterred the many who have attempted to define law. Any approach to actually pinpoint law must take into account so many variables – cultural, economic, institutional, and operational. It becomes almost futile to seek a sole definition for this endless entity.
Theories of law diverge sharply in their answers, attempts to define law as a social phenomenon has meant the divergence of two basic categories. The first attempts to define law as a method of maintenance of a normative order within a social group, and given that every social group has normative regulation, every social group has 'law.' Such definitions disregard the presence or absence legal institutions.
Rules may be seen to be linked by chains of reciprocated services, over long periods of time, covering wide aspects of interests and activities. Twining and Miers suggest that these notions of rules, characterized by the activities they govern or the sources they originate from are the main devices used by people to define their situations, and therefore, it is said that rules can define law. The problem with this approach is that this form of law is virtually indistinguishable from the responsibilities arising from all social relationships. And it emphasizes the nature of rules only governing social relationships in the context concerned. And as persuasive or as sufficiently understood as they are, rules do not suffice in the administration of all

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