The law is a set of rules that regulate human behavior and order society at a given time through the imposition of rules and the creation of bodies and institutions that ensure compliance and application.


This regulatory system, known as a right, requires it to be considered in the public and private life of all people and can be imposed with a coercive nature.

That is, the institutions and bodies intended to do so may use force, such as imposing fines or sanctions for its correct application.

Origin and history of law

There is no exact date that allows dating the origin of the right. However, it is known that from 218 BC to 476 AD a complete and complex normative system known as Roman law was established by the Romans, the cradle of contemporary normative systems.

This Roman law was the promoter of the main differentiation in normative systems, public law and private law. Likewise, procedural norms, real rights, family norms and criminal norms, among others, are born with this right.

But the great feat of Roman law was the standardization of its rules through the corpus iuris civile, which brought together all the legal norms of Roman origin in a written document. Roman law remains the basis of continental law. The law evolved until it reached the modern age where it acquired the main characteristic of being an instrument of the State. That is to say, it acquired its positivistic nature.

Characteristics of the law

The characteristics of the law could be grouped into:

  • Bilateralism : It is necessary that there are two parties subject to the will of the law, which differentiates the right from a moral science.
  • Coercivity : Legal norms can be coercively applied by the State, this differentiates the law from any social science.
  • Heteronomous : The standards must be issued by an entity regardless of who must comply with them, thus guaranteeing compliance with those standards. Which, for example, differentiates it from a terrorist gang.
  • Hierarchical or systematized : The rules follow a system of priority and coherence between them. They form a complex system.
  • It is an independent social science : It must offer a coherent solution for the social context in which it develops.
  • Justice : Pursues a fair projection, although this term is subjective for each person.
  • Variable : Law is a science that is influenced by the historical moment in which it develops.
  • Omnipresence : It is permanently present during life in daily acts even if we do not realize it. For example, when we make the purchase.

Branches of law

The right can be divided into:

  • Natural law: Existence of rules without anyone having to dictate them into a norm. That is, it is prior to positive law and even customary law.
  • Positive law: It is the contemporary legal system. They are the written standards that have met formal and material requirements to be issued and that have enforcement. Within positive law, it is necessary to differentiate between:
    • Public law .
      • Administrative law.
      • Procedural law.
      • Public international law.
      • Criminal law.
      • Constitutional right.
    • Private law .
      • Civil law.
      • Commercial law.
      • Private international right.
    • Social law: This right is associated with public law, but it also has characteristics of private law.
      • Labor law.

Sources of law

The sources of law are:

  • Laws: The written rules that emanate from the will of the people through the courts. These standards are approved according to the appropriate procedure designated by each State and are published so that they can be known by all citizens. They are susceptible to coercive application and are the main source used by judges or arbitrators to settle a lawsuit.
  • Customs: It is known as common law and is a subsidiary source of the law. These are recurring performances in a certain place.
  • General principles of law: They are a set of ideas that attribute to the rules and the legal system in general an ethical character. They are subsidiary sources of both laws and customs.
  • Jurisprudence: They are the sentences issued by the courts. Jurisprudence as a source of law is a controversial issue. In Roman or continental law systems, jurisprudence is not recognized as a source of law because it is not given the function of creating the law but simply of applying and controlling it. On the other hand, in the Anglo-Saxon system of law, jurisprudence is recognized as a source of law since it has the power to create law. That is, their sentences will be a precedent and will have to be fulfilled in the future.

What is the Law for?

Its main functions are:

  1. Direction of conduct: Fundamental function promoting or deterring valuable or disapproving behaviors. This function is clearly observed in the intervention in economic, production and distribution processes to satisfy needs.
  2. Conflict resolution: The principle of the autonomy of the will governs that allows individuals with certain limits and following the channels of law, to try to resolve themselves the conflicts that arise above all in contracts or agreements. And if they cannot, they also go to law through the courts.
  3. Configuration of living conditions: It guarantees a type of relationship. For example, it limits the autonomy of the will by establishing decent working conditions.
  4. Organization of social power: Creation of secondary norms that designate the subjects and procedures to create or modify the norms and the bodies that apply them. That is, institutionalize the law.
  5. Legitimization of social power: Legitimize is the title or reason why the law achieves the obedience of its citizens voluntarily, a power will be legitimized when it is accepted by those who are recipients of its decisions.