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Definition of law - Essay Example

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Definition of law

If the sovereign or its laws are illegitimate then do their sanctions imposed on individuals or groups who do not comply with the laws, legal
In examining cases where the legitimacy of the authority is left in doubt, we must determine whether the authority's legal system and laws are morally justified in making the laws or whether they violate human rights in objectionable ways.
All countries create and adhere to their own rules of law when punishing offenders. In many cases, appropriate punishment is dealt for the severity of the crime committed. The more brutal the crime, the harsher the punishment. But there are nations that impose extreme retribution for even minor misdemeanors, China being a case in point. Each year thousands of Chinese citizens are put to death for petty offences. Many are carried out in secret and thus go unreported. Exactly what criteria nations like these employ to deal out this kind of punishment is a question that compels the investigation of different kinds of laws that operate on a society.
Law of nature deals with morality and the theory tries to recognize a moral compass to guide in the creation of laws (Wikipedia). Usually feelings and notions of what is right and wrong are the underlying principles governing natural law. This could vary greatly depending on various interests. In the case of the countries forming the European Union which signed the Second Optional Protocol, these nations abolished capital punishment. The natural law here has prevailed and won over hearts and minds of leaders and lawmakers into agreeing that capital punishment is wrong and should be eradicated. In nations that retain capital punishment, natural law has not taken roots in governance.
Natural law decrees that anything morally 'right' is law and anything 'unjust' is not a part of natural law. Theorists say that punishment carried out without the use of natural law will be judged by 'higher powers' - that divine retribution will take its course. Natural laws gain respect and credibility when they meet certain requirements such as being impartial and existing in the realm of public knowledge. Without these fundamental requirements the laws are less likely to be recognized or treated with much regard.
Legal positivism or positive law is law that can be changed or updated depending on circumstances. For example abortion can be legal today but illegal tomorrow (Wikipedia). Cigarette advertising may be permissible today but prohibited tomorrow. Alcohol can be banned in world cup football venues to prevent hooliganism but not at local football events. There are many advantages with flexible laws. They can be adapted depending on the circumstances and needs of society at any given time. Newly elected governments placed in office can relax some laws but enforce other existing ones. On the internet, most websites have a 'terms and conditions' or 'terms of use' clause. These may be modified over time to keep up with changes made to the site and also either curtail misuse of the site or, encourage users to take advantage ...Show more

Summary

When English jurist John Austin said 'Law is the command of a sovereign backed by a sanction', he essentially implied that law was a creation of an authority whose legal policies were supported by sanctions that would ensure the members under the authority obeyed the rules…
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