Why do we need laws? The law controls social relations and behavior To satisfy our basic needs and to exploit the full potential of human existence, people have always sought to live in company or society with others, the basis of this existence, by its very nature, must involve social interaction. To ensure the society functions effectively and survives it is necessary to establish norms of acceptable behavior. The state may impose sanctions or punishments on those who fail to comply with these rules.
Although these norms are generally accepted by members of the society and are included in the legal order, social interaction will inevitably lead to disputes because of conflicting interests of individuals and groups. It is difficult for groups of individuals to live in perfect harmony. The objective of any legal system will be providing answers to everyday problems that arise. The solutions to such problems must accord with the objectives that are judged by the community to be socially desirable. The law tells people what they must do or refrain from doing.
Without laws, there would be no code of what is acceptable behavior, without laws, anarchy and chaos would occur society. The law protects individuals and their rights The main focus of the law is to protect the rights of individuals in society. In order to feel safe and secure whether at home or in wider community laws are needed to protect our rights. If a crime is committed against a person, the police will investigate and the offender will be prosecuted through the courts and receive a punishment.
Under civil law, if an individual’s rights have been infringed the courts may provide compensation to the individual for the damage they have suffered. The law reflects community values Each society has a set of values and beliefs that are important to the individuals of that society. Laws are needed to protect the values of the community and to reflect the society’s beliefs of what is acceptable and unacceptable. To most societies, an important value is the importance of human life; as a result any actions that harm of interfere with the quality of human life would be against the law.
As society changes, it is important that the law also changes to reflect changing values and attitudes in the community. However, there are areas of the law where there are conflicting values within the community some examples include voluntary euthanasia, human cloning and same sex marriages. There has been recent controversial discussions concerning the banning of smoking in private residences due to the impact of smoking on children and pets who share a house with smokers. The law protects society Laws are needed to protect society as a whole from the prospect of danger, harm and fear.
Laws ensure society’s safety. The provision of imprisonment under the criminal law protects society by removing the offender from the community for a designated period of time. Penalties imposed by the courts can act as a deterrent to the wider community in that the consequences of committing a criminal offence are widely known and people will refrain from committing offences in the future, resulting in the protection of society. Homework: Revise the reasons we read laws Read the media clip p12 and answer questions 1,2,3,4,5