Law: Definition and Meaning

Different types of rules and principles are referred to as "laws." "Law" is a tool used to control human behaviour. From a societal perspective, the law is synonymous with justice, morality, reason, order, and righteousness. From the perspective of the legislature, "law" refers to statutes, acts, rules, regulations, orders, and ordinances. From a judge's perspective, the law refers to court rules, decrees, judgments, orders of courts, and injunctions. Acts, Statutes, Rules, Regulations, Orders, Ordinances, Justice, Morality, Reason, Righteous, Court Rules, Decrees, Judgments, Orders of Courts, Injunctions, Tort, Jurisprudence, Legal theory, etc. are all included under the umbrella term of law.

Meaning of Law

Old English used the word "lagu," which is a contraction of the word "lagu," that described as the collective noun for law. Layer, measure, and stroke are "literally" something laid down or fixed in the plural form of "Lag." In various contexts and societies at various eras, the term "law" has had various connotations (as it is subject to amendments).

  • In the Hindu religion, law is implied by "Dharma,".

  • while in the Muhammadean religion (Islam), it is "Hokum,"

  • "Jus," "Droit," in Arabic, Alqanoon, Persian, and Turkish

  • "Kunoon," in Latin

  • "Legam," "Batas," in the Philippino language

  • "Ligj," in the Czech language

  • "Zakon," in Danish

  • "Lor," in the Dutch language

  • "Wet” in Italian

It differs from location to location in that adultery is not a crime in America, whereas it is in India (under section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860).

Definitions of Law

A rule of behaviour established by the government or society for a particular region is referred to as a law. The law deals with crime, business, social interactions, property, finances, and other things in accordance with certain norms and conventions. The regulating authority is in charge of enforcing the law.

Schools of Legal Thoughts and Definition of Law

The following Schools of thought have defined the meaning of law in their own way−

School of Thought Definitions
Natural School  According to the natural school of thought, all laws are decided by a court of justice. This definition consists of two key components. First, one must be aware of the goal of a law in order to truly comprehend it. Second, one should look to the courts, not the legislative, to understand the true nature of law.
Positive School According to John Austin's concept of law, "Law is the aggregate set of regulations made by a man as politically superior, or sovereign to men as political subjects." So, according to this definition, law is a system of regulations that all people, regardless of status, must abide by.
Historical School The term "historical law" was first used by Friedrich Karl von Savigny. The following theories are proposed in his definition of law.
  • Law is a subject that develops naturally and unconsciously.

  • Law is not a universal concept. It changes with age and individuals, just like language.

  • Custom is superior to law and predates it as well. Because of conventions, law should always reflect public consciousness. Law derives from the Volkgeist, or collective unconscious, of the populace.

  • Since legislation is the culmination of the legislative process, the lawyer or jurist is more significant than the legislator.

Sociological School Roscoe Pound developed his own definition of law after researching the term. He believed that the law primarily served as a social engineering instrument.
Realist School The legal system is outlined in terms of judicial procedures in the realist concept of law. Law, according to Oliver Wendell Holmes, "is a declaration of the circumstances in which public force will be applied through courts."

The Significance of Law

Following are the major significance of the law −

  • A single legislator, a group of lawmakers, the executive branch, or judges, primarily in common law jurisdictions, can establish precedent or enact laws.

  • Private parties have the authority to create legally enforceable agreements, such as arbitration provisions that take the place of conventional court action and alternative dispute resolution processes.

  • All of its residents are guaranteed equal protection under the law. Laws are created in society to advance the interests of all citizens.

  • It establishes guidelines for how everyone in society should behave in order to benefit society as a whole. If everyone made decisions without considering the greater good, society would return to the pre−industrial era when survival of the fittest was the norm.

  • We live in a world where we have a finite amount of resources to share or use. Laws are created to govern how to handle these resources and how to deal with problems that may develop. If there were clear laws, the affluent and powerful would control these sources.

  • Laws are made because they aid in preventing anarchy in both the social and business environments.

  • Employment law establishes guidelines for employment standards, compliance, and even interoffice rules.

  • When a business is established, the laws govern what kind of business it will be and how it will be structured, which highlights the importance of the rule of law in the business sector.


Insofar as personal laws, such as Hindu law, Muslim law, etc., differ from one another, laws vary from religion to religion. For instance, a Hindu can only have one wife residing at a time. A Hindu man is said to have committed the crime of bigamy and is subject to punishment under Section 494 if he marries again while his first wife is still alive. On the other hand, a Muslim can have four wives living at once. The law is prone to change with the change in society and the government/legislative, through amendments and legislation of new acts. In general, three things are meant by the word "law"− It is initially used to denote "legal order."

It stands for the system of altering relationships and regulating behaviour through the methodical use of the power of an organised political society. Second, when we say "law," we mean the entire set of legal principles that govern a political society. Thirdly, in a politically organised society, the term "law" is used to refer to all official control. When compared to the authoritative information for the guidance of judicial action, this resulted in the actual administration of justice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the law, and what does it mean?

"Law" is a tool used to govern human behaviours. From a societal perspective, the law is synonymous with justice, morality, reason, order, and righteousness. From the perspective of the legislature, "law" refers to statutes, acts, rules, regulations, orders, and ordinances. Moreover, law is a code of conduct or action established by a controlling authority and formally acknowledged as binding or enforced and a legislatively enacted directives or rules.

Q. What are the five goals of the law?

The law can be used in a country to (1) maintain the peace, (2) keep things as they protect individuals’ rights, (3) defend minorities from majorities, (4) advance social fairness, and (5) facilitate orderly social change. These objectives are better served by some legal systems than by others.

Q. Who did create the law (code)?

 The first law code was created by the Sumerian king Ur−Nammu which was composed of casuistic propositions. By enshrining it in stone and codifying it, King Hammurabi furthered the development of Babylonian law around 1760 BC.

Q. Who did establish the law?

Though there is as such no one person can be credited for the establishment of the law, but by the 22nd century BC, Ur−Nammu, an ancient Sumerian ruler, can be credited for formulating the first extant law code. Furthermore, around 1760 BC, King Hammurabi developed Babylonian law, by codifying and inscribing it on stone. In the modern ear, Sir Edward Coke, the Chief Justice of England under King James I, is credited for developing the concept of the Rule of Law. The Divine Concept's tenets were initially criticised by Coke. He was adamant that the King should be subject to the law as well.