The Study of Law


Law is a system of rules created and enforced by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It serves four principal purposes: establishing standards; maintaining order; resolving disputes; and protecting liberties and rights.

The study of laws is a branch of the legal profession. It also provides a source of scholarly inquiry into legal history, philosophy, economic analysis and sociology.

Some of the major areas of study in law include immigration and nationality; public administration; censorship; crime and punishment; criminal law; property law; commercial transactional law; contract law; constitutional law; family law; medical jurisprudence; and civil & administrative law.

‘Validity’ (Latin: validum) refers to the legal validity of normative statements. This is typically determined by a legal norm grounding–that is, a claim of a right (Raz 1970: 173-181; MacCormick 1977: 189-206; Sumner 1987: 68-70; Raz 1994: 258-263).

‘Justification’ (Latin: justificio) involves the legal justification of a particular legal norm. This usually turns on the recognition of that right by courts or legislatures.

A key aspect of this process is whether the legal norm in question can be justified by a set of other legal norms, for example, the right to privacy or the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Some legal norms exhibit Hohfeldian forms of a claim-right and power-right (Lyons 1970; Sumner 1987: 29-31); others do not, such as the claim-right to be immune from inheriting property rights on grounds of one’s gender or the power-right to persecute one.

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