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What is Law?

Do we ever think about it that what would happen if there is no law in society or in the state? I think it is difficult to survive if there is no law in the state or society. We always need laws to protect ourselves or others. Law is an ancient term as the society when society first-ever developed than we needed the law to regulate society or we can say for the Administration of Justice.

Without law, we can't imagine regulating any state or society, without it we do not have civilization; we have chaos. Law is meant to protect people and property from harm. Without laws or rules, we can't imagine regulating any state or society. We can say that to survive with dignity and morality we need the law. Law governs much of what everyone does, day in and day out. It tells us what our rights and duties are, also with that it also tells punishment for breaking the law.

So, we all know that we require the law to regulate ourselves, it is a primary thing that a society or state requires. In day-to-day life, we always listen to the law, we follow laws but ever we think about it that what is the law, and what is the definition of it? Did we ever think about it?

Whenever someone asked ourselves that what is the law then we commonly answered that the law is common sense, don't we? Yes, Law is indeed common sense because it is based on human Morality and Morality means sense of right and wrong i.e, common sense.

There is no such definition of the law, yes you read it right there is no such or static definition of the law. But yes we can define the law for a time phrase but not for eternally, it changes with time and with society. Jurist Arnold stated that - we cannot define law in one or two sentences, the reason is that society is dynamic and the law is made for the regulation of society. So, how can you give a static definition of law when society is itself dynamic. And Jurist Pollock also said it is very difficult to define law when you have more knowledge of the law.

So, we got that there is no static definition of the law but to understand what is the law and the definition of law we have two major schools of thoughts:
  1. Positive Law Theory
  2. Natural Law Theory

Positive Law Theory

  • It is also known as Legal Positivism or Imperative theory of Law or Austin's theory of Law.
  • It is also read as man-made law.
  • John Austin is considered as the founder of positive law theory.

Austin defined Law as:

Law is a command of the sovereign backed by the sanctions. According to Positivism, there are three ingredients of Law, i.e.
  • Command, (set of rules or principles)
  • Sovereign, and ( state i.e. independent authority)
  • Sanction ( punishments)

For example: Motor Vehicles Act.
According to Salmond's definition of law Law is the body of principles recognized and applied by the state in the administration of Justice.
  • According to positivism, the law is a tool to achieve Justice.

Natural Law Theory

  • Natural Law means that human Morality comes from nature. Morality means our sense of right and wrong.
  • It has a historical approach.
  • It is also read as ' made by nature'.
  • The father of natural law theory is considered by many is Aristotle.
  • It also encompasses sometimes divine law i.e. law made by God.

  Natural Law is the principle of Right and Wrong which are inherent in human nature and not created by the society or Judge.
According to Naturalists Law is based on Mortality, Conscience, Fairness, Justice.

I hope that to an extent I made clear to you that what is the law. Law is a wider term not a static. Many jurists defined law according to them but the above definitions make us clear that what is Law.

Written By: Advocate Jagpravesh Singh

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