The Elements of Law


Law serves many purposes: keeping peace and order in a country, preserving the status quo, protecting minorities from majorities, promoting social justice, and ensuring orderly social change. Some legal systems are more effective at serving these purposes than others. In the past, authoritarian regimes have often used law as a tool to suppress political opponents and minority groups. In addition, the colonial system often imposed peace in a country, and nations such as Britain, France, Holland, and Spain often established empires that included a legal system of their own.

Rule of Law

The Rule of Law is an ideal that has been present throughout the history of political thought. The principle of Rule of Law demands that law be transparent, publicly known, and applied equally. It also requires that the law be proactive, rather than reactive. The ideal of Rule of Law cannot be implemented well if it does not include such elements.

The idea of rule of law is not limited to government policy, but also includes citizens who should respect legal norms and accept the legal determination of their rights. This way, everyone is treated equally and no one is above the law. In addition, the rule of law is essential for equality, which is a prerequisite for a democracy.

Formal elements

The formal elements of law are the norms, elicitations, and coercions of law. They reveal the purpose of law in a society. Laws vary in their content based on the social conditions of a society. However, there are some general principles that are common to all laws.

The first principle of law is that it should be comprehensible. In Bentham’s view, a law should be able to direct rational agents. The second principle he stressed was that law should be complete.

Procedural elements

In civil cases, procedural elements of law govern the process. These laws determine who is eligible to file a civil suit and who may be a party to the action. These parties can include the government in power, government subdivisions, and government agencies. These laws are also called code of civil procedure and they govern the process used to deliver justice.

Although the merits of a case may not depend on procedural laws, failure to follow them can hurt a party’s chances. This is one reason that procedural elements of law are constantly in conflict with substantive laws. Many argue that judges should have less discretion and not allow their decisions to be driven by personal preferences.

Substantive ideals

The idea that law is an expression of ideals that people believe in is central to the rule of law. Although this is not the sole purpose of law, it is a crucial principle for the development of justice. These ideals are based on the idea that people should be treated equally. Therefore, it is essential that laws be just and protect individuals.

Fuller advocated a unique legal philosophy that emphasized the natural law of substance and process. In his 1964 book, The Morality of Law, he presented formal criteria for a legal system to meet.

Effects on moral thought

There is a conflict between the role of law and moral thought. Kelsen maintains that law must respond to “living situations” and the law cannot ignore these situations. However, he acknowledges that there are certain aspects of law that cannot be studied scientifically. Nonetheless, the law must be seen as a social technique that serves a purpose.

Traditionally, moralists have viewed themselves as the defenders of moral law. However, in modern society, we tend to reverse these roles. We view ourselves as defenders of personal conscience and freedom.