Law, its Characteristics, and Kinds


In all societies, there are shared ideas about how people ought to behave. Sometimes they are called norms or laws. Each generation passes these ideas on to the next.

The term law has been derived from the old Germanic word “lag” which means something fixed or unchanging. This term is used in different senses in various sciences. In physical sciences, law shows the uniformity in the behavior, movement, and occurrence of things in nature. In social sciences, law shows the uniformity of behavior and conduct of man in society. It creates the condition of social peace, order, progress, and happiness for individuals in society and state.

Schools of Jurisprudence:

There are three main schools of law.

Positivist School:
This school believes that law is the command of sovereign and force is the essence of law.

Historical School:
It puts forward that law is a result of a long historical growth of society because it has evolved from social customs, religious concepts, economic needs.

School of Sociology:
It believes that social rules are law and they come from the society and not from the state and sanction behind law is not force of state but social approval and obedience of the peoples.

Law has the following characteristics.

It means that the “will” of a man always compels him of doing particular actions.

It means that law is applied to everyone, living in the concerned state or country.

It means law of state deals only with the external acts of a man and not the feelings, emotions, and thoughts of and individual.

The content of law is always the explanations of rights and duties of an individual and his relations with other individuals, groups, society, and the state. However, there are certain laws, which do not explain rights and duties of an individual such as to construct a road, is not a law but an act of the state.

In modern age, a law is always framed by legislature of the state. Now construct or habit of the people can be a law unless it is passed by the legislature and enforced by the executives.

Law always backed by authority of the state. If anybody violates a law, he is punished by the government. This force or power of punishment behind law is called sanction.
Sources of Law:
The following are the major sources of law.

Custom or Usages:
Custom is the habit of people, which is transmitted from one generation to another. Customs deals with the relation of the people as members of a society. Even today, many laws are derived from customs and usage for example: marriage, family, sale etc. Most of the laws at present are nothing but old customs of the people. The English common law is the best example in this regard.

In early ages, people were controlled not only by the man made laws, but they were afraid to go against religious laws. With regard to this religion also provided a source for law making, for example, at present the process of Islamization is going on in Pakistan to bring the habits of people and laws in consonance with Islamic values.

Juridical Decision:
The basic duty of the court is to decide cases and disputes according to the existing law. Sometimes the existing law may not cover the whole case. There arises a necessity under such circumstances that a Judge must interpret or explain the existing law to deal with that case. Such decisions are called Judge made law, precedent, or case law.

Scientific Commentary:
It means the views, opinions, and arguments of Jurists who are considered authority in jurisprudence. Although those views and opinions are not binding on the Judges, yet they are given importance because they are the viewpoint of qualified and expert people.

It means perfect quality, fairness and sometimes it happens that a case come before the court for which there is no law at all or there is a law, which is not clear, or but whose application may cause injustice in much case. A Judge uses his own sense of Justice or equity and decides the case; such cases are called equity cases. In this way, the equity has become a source of law.

It means law making. At present every country of the world possesses a separate organ of government, known as the legislature, which makes laws for the concern state, therefore, legislation has become the greatest source of law in modern era.

Kinds of Law:

National Law:
It is made by state legislature and state possesses its jurisdiction within its boundaries. It is also known as multiple laws.

Constitutional Law:
It is draft body of rules, which regulate the powers, and functions of the various organs of government and relations between governed and governing and their rights as well as duties.

Public Law:
It includes all those laws, which regulate relations between state’s departments and citizens.

Administrative Law:
There are special laws through which government officials are treated in the court of justice due to their misconduct during official duty but ordinary citizens are not treated under such laws. These laws exist in France.

Private Law:
It regulates relations between private citizens and explains their rights and duties.

It is temporary law introduced by chief executive of the state during emergency period. It remains enforce for a definite period after which it becomes null and void until the state legislature has not approved it.

International Law:
It deals with the relations and conducts of the states. It may be an ethical conduct of different states. It is not made or issued by any sovereign and having no sanctions behind it.

The Islamic Law:
It is another greatest system of Law in the world. It consists of four school thoughts. According to the Islamic jurisprudence, the law, which governs the social affairs of human beings, should be in accordance with general law of the universe. This law is operative within man himself and in rest of the universe. It demands man’s total submission to one turn God alone and no man can claim lordship over others.