Definition of Law

What is Law

The definition of law is very complicated. It sounds simple and easy to listen but I say and not only I but Jurists, Law students, and teachers say that it is very difficult to define law. This point came to my mind for two or three reasons.


  1. My brother, who is studying at Punjab national law University. He asked me that what is law? and what is the definition of law? so, I answered him that there is no definition of law

Yes, the law does not have any definition. It is a very subject and has very difficult to understand it, and in all over the world degree is taken by students in big and different Universities of the world and Universities of law is also making by government. He asked me that ” How is that possible ? that law does not have any definition?”

I said to him,” that this is not only defined by myself but there are many jurists all over the world that have their own words. Let’s explore more in detail below.

(a) One Jurist named Arvind, clearly says that ” there is no definition of law, we can not define law in one or two sentences. The reason is that society is dynamic and law is made for the regulation of society. He further emphasized that how you can define a static definition for the dynamic society. However, there are different schools of thought, who tried to define law.

(b) One Jurist named Pollack says, “it is very difficult to define law when you have more knowledge of the law.”

There are some theories of law ( there are different theories to understand the law ) but, if we talk about the definition of law, we can understand law by two major schools of thoughts…

                                Major schools of thoughts

  1. Positivism – Positive theory of law
  2. Naturalism – Natural theory of law
1) Positivism-

It has different names like “Legal positivism, Austin theory of law, Imperative theory of law, Positive law etc.”

It is also read as Man-made law. The founder of Positive law theory is John Austin.

Austin defined law as Law is a Command of a sovereign backed by sanctions.

According to Positivists, there are three ingredients of law.

  • Command
  • Sovereign
  • sanction

Salmond’s definition: Law is the body of principles recognized and applied by the state in the administration of justice.

2) Natural law theory –

Positive law is a recent approach but Natural law is old thought.

Natural law means that human morality comes from nature.

“Natural law is the principle of right and wrong which are inherent in human nature and not created by the society or judge.” Natural law is also connected with “Devine law”.

Morality definition:- Morality is your sense of right or wrong.

This is Natural law.

If we see this both schools we can understand that both are independent, Positive school says,” law is man-made law” and the Natural school says,” law is made by nature means the law is in the nature of man and it is defined by the thoughts of man which thoughts comes in the mind that what is wrong and right.”

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