Law is the set of rules that governs a society. It facilitates effective operation of the society. It lays down certain binding obligations, imposes responsibilities and serves as a guideline.
Law serves many purposes: it establishes standards, maintains order, resolves disputes and protects liberties and rights. It is a social process that shapes politics, economics, history and society.
Some of the primary functions of law are to keep the peace, preserve individual rights and protect minorities against majorities. It may also promote social justice and provide for orderly social change.
Despite the diverse functions of law, there are some basic principles that must be applied in most cases. They include the principle of stare decisis, which holds that a judge should follow the original intent of the legislators who passed the law.
Other hermeneutical styles of interpretation, such as originalism and textualism, also hold that a judge should rely on the explicit words of a statute and refuse to consider matters of policy that might enlarge its scope. Critics have pointed out that these hermeneutical styles are often ineffective, especially in rapidly changing societies.
Regardless of the hermeneutical style that a judge chooses, it is essential for every member of society to understand the fundamentals of law. The knowledge of laws provides everyone with a standard guideline for their survival and enables them to know what they should do when someone tries to stop them from doing something without their permission.