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Role and Function of Law

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Essay title: Role and Function of Law

Roles and Functions of Law

According to Merriam Webster law is “a binding custom or practice of a community: a rule of conduct or action prescribed or formally recognized as binding or enforced by a controlling authority” (Merriam). Law has many roles and functions within business and society. Some of the roles of laws set rules of conduct and ethical standards for business and society. Laws also provide a means to settle disputes. The law plays many functions such as “peacekeeping; checking government power and promoting personal freedom; facilitating planning and the realization of reasonable expectations; promoting economic growth through free competition; promoting social justice; and protecting the environment” (Mallor 2007). There are several different types of law to consider. There are also classifications of law.

Constitutions are one type of law. Constitutions exist at both the state and federal level. Constitutions create different branches of the government and determine what powers are given to each branch. Constituions serve a second purpose they prevent other units of government from passing laws that would limit certain individual rights. In short constitutions make sure there is a separation of powers within the government branches.

Another type of law is statutes. “Statutes are laws created by elected representatives in Congress or a state legislature” ( Mallor 2007). Statutes are not considered a law until they are enacted by a legislature. Before a statute is considered a law it is called a uniform act.

Common law, also known as judge-made or case law, is another type of law. These laws are at the state level. Common law is made and apllied by judges . This type of law is applied when there is no other statute or legal rule that can be applied. Common law is based on prior court decisions called precedents. Precedents are prior decisions made by the courts. These laws are flexible and allows common law to evolve to meet current sociatal needs. States have enacted statutes that supersede common laws. Part of common law is Restatements. “The Restatements are collections of common law (and occasionally statutory) rules convering various areas of the law” (Mallor). Restatements are not binding laws but can have an impact on state court decisions. If a restatement is persuasive enough the state court may decide to adopt it as common law. To enforce common law judges use the process of case law reasoning.

Administrative regulations and decisions are established by Congress and the state legislature. Power is delegated to administrative agencies. This power is considerable in relation to business. These agencies came to be out of necessity to deal with “social and economic problems created by the industrialization of the United States that began late in the 19th century” (Mallor 2007). Legislatures did not have the time or expertise to deal with these social and economic problems. Administrative agencies make two types of law administrative regulations and agency decisions.

Treaties are a type of law made by the president and two-thirds of the Senate. These are agreements with foreign governments. “Treaties invalidate

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