What is the Definition of Law?


The word right comes from the Latin term directum, which means “what is in accordance with the rule”. The law is inspired by postulates of justice and constitutes the normative and institutional order that regulates human behavior in society.

The basis of law is social relations, which determine its content and character. In other words, the law is a set of rules that allow conflicts to be resolved within a society.

Law enables the creation of an institutional and normative order.

Sources of law

When talking about law, it is essential that we establish what its sources are, that is, the ideas and foundations on which it is based in order to develop and establish its basic principles. In this sense, we have to underline that their cited sources can be determined, in a general way, in three large categories:

– The real ones, which are the ones that come to establish what is the content of a law in question.

– The historical ones, which are all those old documents that are used to refer to those that have the content of a law.

– The formal ones, which are those that are defined as all those actions carried out by different entities (individuals, State, organisms…) to proceed to create what the law is. Within this category we find in turn jurisprudence, international treaties, custom…

The State, creator of laws and norms

The effective or positive right is formed by the laws, regulations, regulations and resolutions created by the State for the conservation of social order. These are rules whose compliance is mandatory for all citizens.

The subjective right, on the other hand, is the faculty of a subject to carry out or not a certain behavior. This is the power that man has, in accordance with a legal norm, to develop his own activity against another.

The State dictates the regulations that constitute the positive or effective right to preserve the social order.

Law and its characteristics

The right is considered to have several characteristics. One of them is bilaterality (an individual other than the one affected is empowered to demand compliance with a norm), which gives it the quality of attributive imperative to the right. It is imperative since it imposes a duty of conduct (such as paying taxes) and attributive due to the aforementioned regarding the power to demand compliance with the imperative.

Other characteristics of law are its heteronomy (it is self-sufficient; even if the subject does not agree with the content of the norm, they must respect it), otherness (legal norms always refer to the relationship of one subject with others) and coercibility ( allows the legitimate use of state force when a citizen does not comply with its demands).

Main branches

In addition to all of the above, it must be determined that law is usually classified into three main branches:

Social Law. Under this denomination are included all those legal norms whose clear objective is to ensure that citizens live in a society in coexistence. That is to say, it is about the norms that shape the legal system and that are in favor of that aforementioned society, which means that within this classification is the union right or the labor right.

Private Law, is the one that determines the legal relationships between legal persons without any exercising as state authority. An example of this is Civil Law.

Public Law. It regulates the relations between the organs of public power and individuals or entities of a private nature. Examples: Procedural Law, Criminal Law…