Defining and Forming Laws in a Changing Society - Essay Sample

Published: 2023-11-30
Defining and Forming Laws in a Changing Society - Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Sociology Law Punishment Society
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1361 words
12 min read


Law is quite difficult to define since it is human-made, and it changes with time in accommodation of the changing society's needs. It is the legislatures who are responsible for the process of forming the laws ruling everyone in a particular country. The judiciary interprets the same laws in determining whether it is per the constitution, and who is wrong or write depending on the set binding rules (Canale & Tuzet, 2020). These customs and standards consist of enforceable rules to govern relationships between persons, among individuals, and their communities.

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There are three main reasons we need the law for our good living among ourselves. First, for the background, our judges cannot just decide to give any opinion they feel is write concerning a case and stop there. They must collect legitimate reason(s) why they have to rule in a certain manner. Second, it helps in syllogism reasoning; it is vital in deducing certain reasoning that leans much on major and minor premises, and a conclusion. Finally, as a justification for a ruling, the judiciary relies on a wide variety of supportive resources in giving their opinions with the law.

Louisiana Law and the Rest of The United States

The Louisiana law is relatively unique from all the other states in the United States (US). The other 49 states indeed base much of their interpretations of the law on what is termed as common law, whereas Louisiana law dwells on Napoleonic Codes (Legarre & Handy, 2020). When we look back in US history, Louisiana adopted its Spanish and French regulations, which were their colonies, and inhibited their land before America could purchase it. On the other hand, common law that the other 49 states believe came from Great Britain during the colonial period; therefore, even other nations that were once under the rule Britain still use this law, such as India, Australia, Israel, and so on forth.

Common-Law and Statutory (Roman) Law

Common laws are developed based on judges' rulings. In contrast, statutory laws are written and passed by legislatures and a nation's government plus those supported by society. Common laws rely much on past judgments; for instance, those made over hundreds of years ago. They are procedural and instructive. Statutory laws are majorly based on statutes and are substantive and prescriptive.

There are two categories of common laws: one in which judgment is passed, and it becomes a new law without statutes, and the other one judges are meant to interpret the already existing ones and to determine new distinctions and boundaries (Fox, 2016). However, statutory laws are passed by different state governments and federals with the power of law. They have to meet the citizens' needs in resolving issues and formalizing the existing ones to suit their needs.

Civil Law vs. Common Law

The legal system used in civil law originates in Europe. Its most prevalent aspect is its core principles codified into a referable system serving as the law's key source. On the other hand, the legal system is determined by case law, which is developed by the judges through their decisions and similar tribunals (Singh & Bhardwaj, 2019). In Civil law, the constitution is paramount. It is mostly used by Spain, Japan, China, Germany, South American countries apart from Guyana, the majority of African nations, and larger parts of Europe. Common law constitution is optional and dominates the US, England, Canada, Australia, and India.

Adult vs. Juvenile Law

Adult and juvenile crime systems differ in terms of prosecution reasons. For instance, adults are charged for committing criminal acts, whereas juveniles are charged in the juvenile court for delinquent acts. However, when the delinquent acts are so serious, for example, murder cases, the court system may opt to prosecute the juvenile as an adult, and his/her case will be heard as an adult (Cleary & Warner, 2016).

It is important to note that the juvenile court system's underlying factors are differing developmentally from those of adults. That is, their behaviors are malleable. Treatment and rehabilitation and community protection are taken seriously as key and viable responsibilities. On the other side, rehabilitation is not of much importance in the criminal justice system. The working assumption is that criminal punishment should be of equal measure to the offense.

State and federal law

State law is the law governing only a specific state in the US. It only applies to the residents and visitors of the state. Again, it incorporates the business groups, organizations, and corporations operating inside the state. Federal law is a national level law and applies to the whole nation, all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, and the US territories. The federal law is established through keen observation of the constitution since it establishes its powers and responsibilities (Murray, 2016).

Moreover, it preserves the basic rights of citizens. Nevertheless, in a case where state law is conflicting federal law directly, the federal law will be enforced. For instance, state law can offer more rights to its residents than what the federal law does, but it should not be restricting the general rights of a US citizen.

History and future of crime and punishment

Historically, any crime should never go unpunished. As a result of the punishment, the criminal pays off for his criminal offense, and the victim is compensated for making him/her feel better. The benefit of punishment is usually to prevent future similar offense by the same criminal or by any other person who might have learned a lesson from the same case, and to recognize that the victim has surely suffered an unjust act of offense, which cannot be termed as just a mere accident (Hartmann, 2018). The punishment is also pertinent in the offender's life and offended since it removes the guilt and earns both of them a sense of safety and self-confidence.

The different types of laws make up our system of justice in the sense that once an offense in caused, it is easy to tell which law(s) are violated because they are kept in a system and at different levels of their applications. Therefore, the judges can easily refer and know which laws are violated and what actions to take according to the law description or codes.

Ethical Codes That Have Developed in the Legal System over Time

In the legal system, ethical codes can be termed as a collection of rules that govern the judiciary's conduct while they serve in their professional capacity. These codes were never made over one day, but it improves and develops over time towards its perfection. Judges have to comply with the code of judicial conduct. These codes are not actul laws; however, state and federal governments have adopted them, and their violations are used as the basis for punitive action against the judges (Kerper & Lee, 2019). Moreover, anyone is free to lodge a complaint of misconduct against a particular judge, but with the appropriation of judicial review council. Punitive actions include suspension from office and private or public reprimand.


Canale, D., & Tuzet, G. (2020). What Is Legal Reasoning About A Jurisprudential Account. In Economics in Legal Reasoning (pp. 9-24). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Cleary, H., & Warner, T. C. (2016). Police training in interviewing and interrogation methods: A comparison of techniques used with adult and juvenile suspects. Law and human behavior, 40(3), 270.

Fox, D. (2016). The Reception of Roman Law into the Anglo-American Common Law of Mixed Goods. University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper, (23).

Hartmann, L. (2018). Allegories of Justice: Crime and Punishment in Three African Novels. Africa Today, 66(2), 111-132.

Kerper, W., & Lee, C. (2019). Korean Code of Ethics for Attorneys. Wash. Int'l LJ, 29, 667.

Legarre, S., & Handy, C. (2020). A Civil Law State in a Common Law Nation, a Civil Law Nation with a Common Law Touch: Judicial Review and Precedent in Louisiana and Argentina. Notre Dame Legal Studies Paper, (200210).

Murray, B. M. (2016). A new era for expungement law reform-recent developments at the state and federal levels. Harv. L. & Pol'y Rev., 10, 361.

Singh, S. A. K., & Bhardwaj, G. (2019). Decoding Common Law and Civil Law: Origin, Goal, and Legal Mechanism. Journal of the Gujarat Research Society, 21(5), 44-52.

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