The Discipline of Law
Law is the system of rules developed by a society or government for dealing with crime, trade, property, social relations and more. The discipline of law studies these systems, their observance and adherence, the judicial system, etc. Laws can be based on anything from religious precepts to natural science. It can be proven or hypothetical, sanctioned or unsanctioned, harmonious or antagonistic, yet because it is consistent with reality, it still is a Law.
The law can be broadly divided into three areas: civil, criminal and administrative. Civil law deals with private disputes between citizens, such as those involving injury to person or property, contract and trespass. Criminal law is a subset of civil law that covers activities considered harmful to the community at large and for which people may be imprisoned or fined. Administrative law is concerned with the ways a government does business and the regulations that govern such activities.
It is possible to further divide law into a number of other sub-disciplines. Labor law, for example, covers the relationships between workers, employers and trade unions. Tort law covers compensation for damages caused by negligent behaviour. Evidence law refers to which materials are admissible in court. Other areas include the laws relating to family, property and corporations.
Different theorists have varying views on the purpose of law and its role in society. Dean Roscoe Pound, for example, argues that law is a form of social engineering that helps to satisfy societal needs. Max Weber, on the other hand, argues that law reflects the interests of ruling classes in a democratic society and serves as a method of social control.
Many academic disciplines are involved with studying the law, including history, philosophy, economic analysis and sociology. A degree in law can lead to a wide range of career options, from advising on legal issues to working as a lawyer or judge. The study of law is also a central aspect of the fields of legal history, legal philosophy and political science. In addition, there are a number of other specialized areas of law, such as aviation law, maritime law, computer law and the law of the land. These specialties provide an opportunity to study the law in a specific area of interest and to learn about the unique features of each field. Some law students choose to specialize in a particular area of the law in order to pursue a particular career path. Others opt for a general law degree to have the broadest possible education and to be more prepared for any career. Whatever choice a student makes, the goal of a law degree should be to develop an understanding of how the law affects everyday life in a democracy. To achieve this, a solid foundation in both the substantive and theoretical aspects of the law is required. The law is a complex and fascinating subject that deserves careful study. To do otherwise risks losing sight of its fundamental purposes and goals.