Functions of Law

In order to determine the functions or role of the law in society and business the word should be defined. Miriam-Webster's Dictionary gives the following definitions:

"1 a: rule of conduct or action laid down and enforced by the supreme governing authority (as the legislature) of a community or established by custom b: the whole collection of such rules c: the control brought about by enforcing rules d: trial in a court to decide what is just and right according to the laws e: an agent or agency for enforcing laws

2: a basic rule or principle

3 a: the profession of a lawyer b: lawyers as a group c: the branch of knowledge that deals with laws and their interpretation and application

4: a rule or principle stating something that always works in the same way under the same conditions 

The glossary in the course text (Cheeseman, H. 2001, pg 1145) defines law as "That which must be obeyed and followed by citizens subject to sanctions or legal consequences; a body of rules of action or conduct prescribed by controlling authority, and having binding legal force . Both these definitions have common threads. First, rules that govern conduct, second, someone in authority. The definition itself presents the role of law, which is to maintain a conduct, both within society as well as business that are within guidelines that have been predetermined as acceptable. These guidelines and the laws that govern them have been determined over time. Many times the laws have been carried over from other countries or born out of the necessity of having to deal with situations as they arise. "Human beings do not ever make laws: it is the accidents and catastrophes of all kinds happening in every conceivable way, that make law for us . (Plato Laws IV, 709)

In the course text (Cheeseman, H. 20

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