Different opinions have been expressed by jurists about the purpose and performance of law. Law is a dynamic concept that changes with the times and places. It is well-known. It should adapt to changes in society.
Modern law is not an end in and of itself, but a means to an ending. The end of law is to secure social justice. Most theorists agree that it is an instrument for securing justice.
Salmond observed, “Law is an ensemble of principles recognized by the state and applied by it in the administrations of justice.”
Hobbes, Locke and others recognized the positive role law played in preserving and expanding freedom and liberty.
Kant stated, “The aim of the law [is] the adjustment of one’s freedom to that of other members in the community.”
Holland believes that law’s function is to ensure the well-being and security of society. It is more than an institution that protects an individual’s rights.
The law’s purpose is to guarantee justice. The justice can be either distributive or corrective. Distributive justice seeks fair distribution of benefits and burdens within the community. On the other hand, corrective justice seeks to right the wrong.
Take, for example:
The courts will order the person who wrongfully takes over property of another to return it to them. This is called corrective justice.
The sine qua non of fair justice is rule of law. It means that everyone is equal before law, and law provides equal protection for all. Judges should provide justice without regard or favor and cases of similar nature should be treated equally.
Law’s Advantages and Drawbacks
The advantages of law:
There are four main uses of law or benefits to it:
1). Uniformity and certainty
3). Protection against errors
4). 4. Reliability
Uniformity and certainty:
First, law provides certainty and uniformity in the administration of justice. It is crucial that not only are judicial decisions just but that the public should also be able to see the court’s decision in advance.
It is more important than being ideally just that a rule be clear, specific, permanent, and known. Because the law is predetermined and certain, people are able to know their rights and obligations beforehand and adjust their behavior towards each other. Fixed principles of law protect against the dangers
Decisions that are arbitrary, biased or dishonest. Law is known and certain. A judge may change a rule of the law, but it is obvious to everyone.
Complex societies and civilisations require regulation by law. Not by individual consciences and reasons that vary from one place to another. Because the reason is so variable and constantly changing, uniformity and certainty in law are impossible.
Equality and Independence:
The law is not made for any particular person or case. It does not allow for respect for individuals, which is inconsistent with justice. All people are equal before the law, regardless of their social standing or rank.
It is always impartial. It doesn’t show any favor to anyone. No one can escape the law’s clutches. This principle of equality, impartiality and fairness prevents corruption in the administration of justice.
Protection against errors
The law protects the administration of justice from the errors of individual judgment. The law is the substitution and acceptance of the opinions and convictions of society for the individuals to whom judicial functions have been entrusted. The light of nature may not always make the principles of justice clear.
Problems that require judicial decisions can often be complex and hard to understand. It is necessary to follow some accepted principles, which, while not always wise, will likely lead to better decisions.
Although the law may not be always wise, on the whole it is more wise than the people who enforce it. Aristotle observed that “To try to be wiser than laws is the very thing that is, by good law, prohibited.”
The law is the will and raison of the body political, and the title claims to override that of the Magistrates and Judges.
Thus, law is a reflection of the conscience and opinion of the whole society. Judges who give effect to this opinion and conscience are protected from making mistakes in their own judgments.
The law has another advantage: it is more reliable and trustworthy than individual judgment. Judges and human minds are susceptible to error. The wisdom of Congress, which is the wisdom of the people, could provide a more secure and reliable protection than the instantaneous fancy of a judge.
Law’s Defects and Disadvantages
The following are four drawbacks to law:
4). It is a complex task.
A legal system’s first flaw is its relative rigidity. This rigidity means that law must be applied regardless of special circumstances or whether it is right-hand or left.
These provisions are not complete. It is possible that some cases or circumstances are not covered by the law’s express provisions.
The law does not allow for exceptions. In cases where it is not, it can cause great hardship and injustice. If we want to establish a general rule, however, we have to be willing to pay the price.
It is not possible to substitute authoritative precedents, which are binding decisions of superior court judges. This rigidity means that the law must be applied in all circumstances, without exceptions and without considering the positive or the negative aspects of each case.
The vice of rigidity can be analogous to conservatism. The first is when laws fail to adapt to special circumstances or unforeseen classes of cases. The latter is when the laws fail to adapt to changes in circumstances and men’s views about justice and truth that are inevitable due to time lapse.
Progressive societies always stay ahead of the law. A progressive society may find that the laws are inadequate to meet the changing needs of its citizens. In these cases, the existing rules might not be applicable. Changes in circumstances can make what is true today false tomorrow.
Although Judges may be able to influence the law during its administration, direct legislation is the best instrument for legal change. However, legislation can’t keep up with the development of progressive opinion. And opinion can only change as fast as the changing circumstances dictate.
The evils of legal conservatism will not change. No matter how perfect our legislative machinery may be, the law will still fall behind public opinion and the public opinion of the times.
Formalism refers to the tendency to give more weight to technical requirements than substantive rights and wrongs. It is difficult to illustrate the formalism of ancient law. Modern formalities include registration and attestation.
Complexity is a given
Unnecessary complexity is the fourth defect in law. Excessive development of a legal framework makes the law more complicated. It is difficult to comprehend the law. It is difficult to comprehend the law because of the tendency of lawyers to make fine distinctions.
Why is law so important?
Law is important for many reasons. It helps maintain order in society. It ensures that everyone is treated equally and that their rights can be protected. It is important that law protects the rights of people and ensures that businesses are able to operate in a fair manner.
What are the advantages of law?
Law has many benefits. One of the benefits is that law provides a set of rules that all members of a society must adhere to. This ensures order and stability. People can also resolve their disputes through law. It facilitates peaceful resolution of disputes and enforces agreements. The law is an important tool to protect individual rights.
What are the disadvantages of law?
Law has its disadvantages. It can be costly to bring a case to court. It can take many years to get a case to trial. A lawyer is not affordable for everyone, so those who can’t afford one are at an advantage.