Efficacy of Law

Topics: Law, Sociology, Administrative law Pages: 9 (3011 words) Published: June 24, 2013
On his way to a meeting, Mr. Mzee boards a matatu plying his route. The driver turns the music volume up which he complains. He is ignored and his continued “nagging” leads to ejection at the next stage. He arrives late for the meeting. Back home a new neighbor who is always playing loud music has refused to heed calls to cease the habit and argues that law will not stop him as it does not work.

With reference to the above scenario, discuss the efficacy of law as an instrument of social control, highlighting factors which act as barriers to change.

Law is the set of rules that guides our conduct and regulates human behavior in the society. Mostly it is enforceable through public agencies for example the government. Our relations with one another are governed by many rules of conduct—from important concepts of ethics and fair play to minor etiquette matters such as which fork to use and how to introduce strangers to one another. We obey these rules because we think they are right or simply because we desire the approval of others. It can also be defined as an instrument for attaining social order which is fundamental for the growth of a society, be it economic or political activities. Social order is generally peace, calm, lawfulness, lack of conflict and people doing what is expected of them. Law therefore comprises primary rules which can also be referred to as ‘duty imposing rules’. Social control is methods used by members of a society to maintain order and promote predictability of behavior. Law is just but one form of social control. It also entails rules of behavior that should be followed by the members of a society.  Some of the rules of conduct fall into the realm of good manners as the culture define them.  As such they describe behavior that is socially desirable but not necessarily compulsory.   Other rules of conduct are not optional and are enforced by laws.  In complex, large-scale societies, laws are usually written down formally so that they can be known clearly to everyone.  This is not the case with laws in small-scale societies such as those of foragers, pastoralists, and horticulturalists.  Their laws commonly are much more informal, being rarely written down.  Since they are part of the evolving oral tradition that is familiar to members of these societies, there is no need to explain them to anyone.  However, people visiting from other societies are not likely to know what the laws are until there is a dispute.

In his book, The Concept of Law, H.L.A Hart defines Efficacy of the law as the obedience by the populace of a rule. No law can be said to be efficacious unless followed by the majority of the populace. It can also be defined as the power to produce an effect by a certain law.

Barriers to change. A barrier to change can be defined as anything that prevents change or makes it difficult for change to come about. Introduction
Law is not independent from the society but is part and parcel of it and therefore connected to the structure and functioning of the society in which it exists hence it cannot be analyzed separately from society and vice versa. It is an integral aspect of social order and control as it guides human behavior. How effective law is in social control

As an instrument of social change, law entails two interrelated processes: the institutionalization and the internalization of patterns of behavior. 

* Institutionalization of a pattern of behavior refers to the establishment of a norm with provisions for its enforcement or establishing of a law. * Internalization of a pattern of behavior means the incorporation of the value or values implicit in a law or establishing a certain framework into one’s lifestyle. Law is a discipline in itself and has many functions when it comes to social control. * It lays down procedures for doing things i.e. the civil and criminal procedure rules, council by laws, traffic rules, Speed limits, to mention but a few....
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