The legal norms are regulations that must be respected in a given country in order to live within the framework of the law, since non-compliance results in a sanction clearly stipulated in any of the current codes (civil, criminal, commercial). For example: it is forbidden to make a child work, everyone has the right to identity.
The content of any legal norm is always the result of a historical-social evolution, and societies must be open to reconsidering certain norms if necessary, since circumstances change and it would be a mistake to believe that the fairest and correct order possible has already been achieved.
Talking about legal norms presupposes the existence of a Justice, not in the ideal sense of the term, but in its concrete application. In countries organized under the rule of law, justice is exercised by:
- People who have been chosen to regulate the rules.
- People who have a formal responsibility to enforce them.
- People who are in charge of administering judgments for cases in which those laws have not been respected.
The latter is the Power of attorney, which is one of the three branches of the State (together with the Executive and the Legislative).
The general spirit of legal norms has many analytical edges, but to generalize it can be said that what these norms seek is restrain natural instincts or the free will of people in pursuit of a healthy coexistence in society, to ensure that all live preserving certain core values, such as family, freedom, property and others.
There is talk of a restriction, since legal norms have intrinsically a punitive facet that is precisely stipulated: in this sense they are opposed to moral norms, which do not have a formal sanction, and even so, they are expected to be fulfilled. The responsible education of parents and teachers, instilling the good and the attachment to values from the first years of life, usually results in responsible citizens, for whom complying with legal norms is natural, beyond the possible sanctions that infringement implies.
Even when everything is regulated in principle, legal norms often overlap or leave gaps or “legal loopholes“, which can only be resolved from interpretation and human judgment. Legal rules differ between countries, and in some countries they even vary between different states.
Examples of legal norms
Twenty examples of generalized legal norms are listed below:
- All people have the right to identity.
- Everyone has the right to have a lawyer for their defense.
- Discrimination against other people is prohibited.
- Everyone has the right to stand for election.
- All police officers must identify themselves before an intervention.
- Public offices elected by popular will have a fixed duration.
- All persons must serve the National Army if so requested.
- It is forbidden to hire a person for longer than the maximum working day.
- Giving false testimony during a judicial process is prohibited.
- All people have the right to practice their religions.
- It is forbidden to kidnap a person.
- It is prohibited to carry out any type of commercial fraud.
- All people have an obligation to comply with traffic laws.
- All people have the right to express their opinions.
- It is forbidden to have sexual relations with a minor person.
- Everyone has the right to refuse to testify in a judicial process.
- It is forbidden to hire a person and not give him a vacation.
- Ignorance of the laws is no excuse for non-compliance.
- It is forbidden to make a child work.
- A citizen can move freely throughout the national territory.