Law is vast and diverse, which makes it overwhelming and confusing. The main purpose of the law is to create order in society and business. Law can be defined as “the body of official rules and regulations, generally found in constitutions, legislation, judicial opinions, and the like, that is used to govern a society and to control the behavior of its members, so Law is a formal mechanism of social control” (Sixth Form Law, 2012, par. 4).
The following will describe the function of law and what role it has in society and business in addition to looking at how law affects a specific industry. Because American law is so diverse, it is broken down into several categories. Those categories include; Criminal law versus Civil law, Substantive law versus Procedural law, and Public law versus Private law. Please note that these categories are broad, and they are not mutually exclusive. An act or transaction can be classified in more than one legal category (Melvin, 2011). First, laws, primarily statutes, are considered to be criminal or civil.
Criminal law protects society. It is between private parties and society. For example, if someone is brought up on murder charges they would be tried in a criminal court of law. Violations of criminal law could result in penalties of fines or imprisonment to violators if convicted of the crime and proven to have intentionally committed the crime. Civil law is between private parties. Civil laws are created to compensate parties who have experienced losses because of the other parties’ actions. Examples of civil law could be divorce and accidental injury cases. Next are the differences between Substantive law and Procedural law.
Substantive law is a statutory law, which deals with the relationship between people or people and the state. Substantive law is used to define, regulate, and create people’s rights and obligations. They deal with the structure and the facts of the case to determine the type of crime and the severity. It also defines the rights and responsibility of the accused. For example, there are several degrees of murder, depending on the circumstances and the intent; there are different levels of punishment. On the other hand, Procedural law is a set of rules that govern the proceedings of criminal lawsuits and civil proceedings.
It elaborates on the steps of how the case should proceed as well as assists in determining if the case requires a trial. These laws ensure fair practice and consistency in the due process (Diffen, n. d. ). Last is the summary of Public law and Private law. Public law governs the relationship between individuals and the government. It includes constitutional law, administrative law, and criminal law. Domestic violence is an example of Public law. Private law, also known as common law in some countries, governs the relationships between individuals. It includes civil law, labor law, commercial law, corporations law, and competition law.
An example of Private law would be a contract for services. If someone renders a service according to the request of the client, but the client is not happy with the results and refuses to pay for this service. This agreement is legally binding and the rules of transaction are governed by the common law of contracts (Melvin, 2011). There is much to digest once reading about the categories of law and to think this is just skimming the surface. In addition to these categories the Congress is given power via the Commerce Clause to “regulate Commerce among the several states” (Melvin, 2011, p 32).
If Congress chooses to regulate certain persons or products, the federal law is supreme to the state law that tries to regulate the same persons or products. In the case of Cipollone v. Liggett Group, the state law regulating advertising for tobacco products were preempted by the federal law (Melvin, 2011). It is important to know how state and federal laws can affect society and business. One industry, which is under constant scrutiny, is Appraising. Appraising has both state and federal laws to abide with, and they are constantly changing.
Appraisers are required to obtain certain standards that are set forth in the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), which is published by the Appraisal Standards Board of the Appraisal Foundation. If an appraiser fails to comply with these standards there could be punishment of fines, lawsuits, or loss of license. In conclusion, it is important to know the basic roles and functions of law in both society and business even though it is vast and diverse. Laws are needed to create balance and order within society and business, and they can be broken into broad categories to obtain the basic knowledge.