Legal topics, legal developments, case law… you name it, you’ve probably seen them around. But why would legal issues be useful and relevant to non-lawyers? Why is the law relevant to you?
Laws create a system where people can bring their disputes before an unbiased fact-finder, such as a judge or jury. There are also legal solutions where individuals work together to find a way to resolve problems, such as by using alternative methods of settlement. Courts at every level helps decide who should win in a dispute.
New legislation helps revolutionise how we go about our lives and our workplace. Take the example of employees working for a large factory. What could protect them if something goes wrong? Laws help protect the rights of employees and enforces the need for employers to undertake risk assessments within the workplace environment in order to mitigate potential risks. The important case of Edwards v National Coal Board (1949) introduced the idea of ‘reasonable practicability’. This means that employers must balance the time and expense necessary to implement safety measures against the possible effect of taking such measures. These types of laws and cases create meaningful change to the structures of society.
Laws help societies to function in an orderly manner. What would society be like without the rule of law? You would need to provide your own protection, as there would be no police force or military to protect your safety or other interests. People would fight against each other for basic necessities and rights without any way of keeping the peace. With the introduction of democratic law comes order and reliability. People can feel safe, leading to stronger social structure and enhanced productivity.
Laws contain moral guidelines on what actions are acceptable in society. For example, Aristotle argued that people needed the discipline of law to make sure they do the right thing, that they can appreciate what is right and wrong. Criminal law in particular helps make sure certain conducts are prohibited in society.
In sum, the law plays an essential role in society by enabling dispute resolution, creating a safer workplace for all, maintaining order and encouraging people to do the right thing. It will always always useful to increase your understanding of the subject!