Legal Norms: Definition, Functions, Violations, & Examples of Legal Norms – Legal norms are rules intended for order in people’s lives which are usually made by local government authorities in a country.
Every citizen who lives side by side with other citizens is obliged to follow the legal norms that have been made, where in the process there are officials such as prosecutors, police, judges, who enforce the rules and legal norms in a country.
Definition of Norm
In the perspective of norms and legal science, there are several definitions of norms from various experts and theorists. Like J Macionis, argues that norms are a set of rules and regulations to guide the actions of every member of society.
Meanwhile, Mz. Lawang, argues that Norma is a description of expectations that are appropriate to do. Besides that, Hans Kelsen, argues that the norm is an impersonal and anonymous order.
However, the notion of norm that is often encountered comes from the Dutch language, namely “norm” which means the standard, rule, or guideline that applies. This is as expressed by Anthony Gidden where Norma is a standard (concrete) rule or principle which is mandatory in nature to be maintained and paid attention to by all citizens. In this case we can conclude that norms are rules for a guide and rules for a person, society, and citizens, carrying out activities.
Definition of Legal Norms
Legal norms mean agreements made by all elements of society, or those representing the community in certain areas. It is important to agree on these legal norms, because they discuss what can be done and what cannot be done.
There are legal norms that exist in society that are already listed in the Legislative Regulations and there are also those that are already in effect within the community itself. With the existence of legal norms, it is hoped that every member of society will not act arbitrarily, so that peace and tranquility can be maintained.
Nature of Legal Norms
Legal norms are usually binding for every resident who is under the auspices of one country by adhering to certain legal norms. Where binding means that it must be obeyed and if it violates it will be subject to sanctions. The sanctions are also stipulated in the normal draft applicable law. In other words, it can be said that legal norms have two kinds of characteristics, namely orders and prohibitions.
Purpose of Legal Norms
The following are the objectives of legal norms in one government or country:
- As a guide or rule of life for all people in a particular area. It is very clear that when we live in a certain area, we have to follow guidelines and rules.
- Can provide order and stability in social life. A peaceful and stable community life is the ideal of all citizens, for that is one of the goals of legal norms. So that the realization of an orderly social order in order to prevent the occurrence of arbitrary behavior among members of the community.
- Norms as restrictions such as prohibitions or orders in behaving and acting. Doing our daily activities sometimes we forget the boundaries, especially when there are no legal norms. The risk that is accepted when there are no boundaries is chaos, so legal norms become an important point for environmental peace. Not only prohibitions, but orders are also contained in legal norms such as orders to order traffic or protect the environment. For this reason, when people who do not comply with the rules will be given legal sanctions and social sanctions.
- Making every community make adjustments to the rules and norms that apply in the environment. Because every environment has its own rules so that when we are in a certain environment we have to adapt to the norms that apply.
With this, we can take the common thread that in order to maintain public order, security and peace, we must obey the rules and norms of the law that apply. Where these legal norms apply universally and are not selective.
In social life to regulate interactions in which these legal norms are enforced, in viewing this interaction there is a legal research method that can be used, namely legal ethnography that you can study in Ethnography of Ethnography of Legal Culture of Commoner Chinese Communities.
Characteristics of Legal Norms
- Legal norms contain rules that serve as a guide for the community when carrying out their life activities. For this reason, norms usually contain procedures, rules, and guidelines.
- Legal norms are not made arbitrarily by the community, so that in order to enforce the validity of legal norms, they must be approved by the government or official legal authorities. So that the applicable norms have the force of law.
- Rules in legal norms must be obeyed, which means that these norms are binding on every citizen who is in the territory of a certain country. This can be binding because legal norms also have power.
- For anyone citizen who does not comply with the agreed norms will be punished. For this reason, legal norms can also be a reference for sanctions for those who violate them. These sanctions can vary either imprisonment or imposition of fines.
Types of Legal Norms
Both written and unwritten legal norms have a position to enforce rules in society, but differ in terms of delivery. Where written law is usually made in legal sheets and recognized by the state, while unwritten legal norms are commonly found in the customary life of the community. More details about both can be seen in the following explanation:
1. Written Law
Written law is the norms of the rules made by the authorized institution in written form. Sheets such as laws, government regulations, are written legal rules, where these rules are made by state institutions so that written legal sheets have the power to be used in public life at large. In Indonesia there are state institutions that have the right to make these rules such as the People’s Representative Council (DPR) or the Executive Government.
Because it has been ratified in writing, this law applies in its entirety to every citizen in a country. Everyone in various regions, be it at the province, district, sub-district level or down to the village level, is bound by agreed rules. The existence of written legal norms is divided into two parts, namely criminal law and civil law. The differences and explanations can be seen as follows:
2. Criminal Law
Civil law aims to uphold legal order and protect every citizen. Public interests and relations between them are determined and protected by the norms of the Law. A good nation is successful in maintaining a social order with the rule of law.
For this reason, if the rules are not followed, they will be subject to sanctions, both formally and sometimes in informal forms. Severe sanctions usually have to involve law enforcement with applicable laws, these sanctions are imposed on anyone who violates rules or norms.
Criminal law is the rules that determine what actions are prohibited and classified as criminal acts. This law also regulates what punishment will be given to the offenders of the crime. Anyone who violates and causes both material and non-material losses can be subject to sanctions. These losses can befall other people or even harm the wider community.
As an example of a criminal law case, where there is a group of people who rob a house and kill the victim (home owner), causing material loss and killing someone on purpose. For this reason, the perpetrators of the robbery will be sentenced to prison and fines according to what is stated in the Criminal Code (KUHP).
The Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) regulates material criminal acts that apply in Indonesia. Even so, the Criminal Code is still sourced from Dutch law, but it still applies to regulate law in Indonesia. This has been stated in the Transitional Provisions of Article II of the 1945 Constitution “: “All state bodies and regulations that still exist are immediately enforced as long as new ones have not been enacted according to this Constitution”
In Indonesia itself, the applicable criminal law is divided into two, namely, General & Written Criminal Law which you can learn about in the book below.
3. Civil Law
Civil law is part of written legal norms which contain rules for the benefit of a person (individual) within a social group (society). It also regulates the rights and obligations that must be obeyed. As an example is the law of people and family law which you can learn in the book Development of Civil Law Concerning People & Family Law Ed.R.
The difference with criminal law is the range of losses, usually civil law is a personal matter that does not harm many parties (the wider community). Quoted from the Untirta Faculty of Law website, it is stated that the definition of civil law is law for problems between two people in society that originate from individual (personal) interests.
This term is also often referred to as civil or private law, although civil law will apply in both written and unwritten forms. An example that is often found is the issue of accounts payable that does not involve other communities. Losses arising from these debts are only felt by one of the parties (individuals).
Violators of this law will not be subject to criminal sanctions but in accordance with the existing rules in the civil law book. The Civil Code is a written legal norm that applies in Indonesia.
4. Unwritten Laws
Unwritten law basically has the same purpose as written law, its nature applies to all legal users and is binding. However, this law is not officially stated in state sheets that have the force of law. Basically, written law is born from the life of society whose norms can apply in life, but are more abstract in nature.
Unwritten laws are usually found in the lives of indigenous peoples, where they regulate the lives and activities of their people with laws that are not regulated in written law sheets. As is the case with the Baduy people who have legal rules that are mutually agreed upon by both the customary leader and the indigenous people.
Those who use unwritten customary law generally focus on beliefs that have been passed down from generation to generation to other users of the law. It’s just that this law does not apply to all people, where the scope is narrower. Due to its unwritten nature, this law sometimes changes according to the needs of society.
This unwritten law also has provisions for sanctions that can be imposed on people who violate the norms. These sanctions can be in the form of social punishment, confinement, fines or more severe expulsion from the customary tribe. The person who has the authority to determine this unwritten law is usually given to the customary leader or traditional leader who is considered authorized.
For example, one of the people who live in a traditional environment steals livestock belonging to their neighbors. Then he will receive sanctions in the form of social punishment such as cleaning the village environment. Even in certain indigenous tribes they have a belief that anyone who violates the norms will get a mystical punishment such as a curse. Where these laws are not written down like laws or the Criminal Code, but are passed down in sequence to their descendants.
In addition, unwritten laws are usually associated with myths that develop in society, such as not being allowed to urinate in graves because it will bring bad luck or not being allowed to sit in front of the door because it will prevent a mate from coming.
This actually has a good meaning and purpose, but because the explanation passed down from generation to generation is irrational, myths develop. If digested rationally, the behavior of urinating on graves is not allowed because it is not the place and will pollute the environment.
Or is it not forbidden to sit in front of the door not for reasons of making it difficult to get married, but to block people from entering so that the match that will enter does not take place because it is obstructed.
The Process of Forming Legal Norms
This becomes one of the backgrounds of legal norms so that the existing norms in society can regulate the whole society. In addition, the background to the formation of law is due to the diverse patterns of human life, various behaviors shown by society, both positive and negative. Everyone has different understandings to interpret a good life.
That is why legal norms must be formed so that good values can be applied objectively. Human life side by side often creates frictions that trigger divisions. Based on this background, the law began to be formed verbally, to regulate people’s lives. This usually occurs in the environment of indigenous peoples.
Usually, to decide on legal norms, an agreement process is carried out between the community so that a law is accepted by all parties. With the development of the era, legal norms are made in writing to ensure that these values can be used objectively. The process of making legal norms in the current era has several stages, such as in Indonesia which are often known as Laws.
The process begins with planning by drawing up a national legislation program, then drafting laws by the government or DPR is accompanied by academic studies. Then two stages of wetting were carried out, first at the commission meeting and at the plenary session. Then it is determined, from this date the law comes into force, the final stage is dissemination.
Legal Norm Sanctions
Meanwhile, in civil law, judges usually impose penalties in the form of condemnatory, declaratory and constitutive decisions. In order to get to know about legal sanctions, the following are examples of legal sanctions in the Criminal Code. Example of Article 351 in the Criminal Code (KUHP):
- Persecution is punishable by a maximum imprisonment of two years and eight months or a maximum fine of four thousand five hundred rupiahs.
- If the act resulted in serious injury, the offender is punished by a maximum imprisonment of five years.
- If it results in death, it shall be punished by a maximum imprisonment of seven years.
- With persecution equated deliberately damage to health.
- Attempts to commit these crimes are not punishable.
If the perpetrator commits an act of adultery or immoral acts, they will receive an immoral crime according to their actions and you can learn about this in the book Legal Sanctions for Facilitators of Immoral Crimes.
This is an explanation of legal norms in Indonesia, hopefully it will be a reminder that we can always live in peace and safety by always complying with applicable legal norms. Hope it is useful.
Sources of Legal Norms
As is well known by all Indonesian people that the Indonesian state is a legal state, so that every member of society who violates the law will be given sanctions. Then, what is the actual source of legal norms? Legal norms originate from the 1945 Constitution, the Criminal Code (KUHP), and other government regulations.
Examples of Legal Norms
Basically, everyone who violates the law will definitely be given sanctions that are already in effect. Below will be given some examples of legal norms.
Examples of Legal Norms in the Community Environment
- Each family pays cash contributions along with cleaning
- Every resident who stays is required to report 1 × 24 hours
Examples of Legal Norms in the State Environment
- Everyone who rides a motorbike must use a helmet and turn on the vehicle’s lights. Meanwhile, motorists must wear seat belts. In addition, every driver must obey every traffic sign.
- Every Indonesian citizen is obliged to pay taxes.
- Someone who commits a crime or criminal act will be given the sanctions that are already in effect.
- Do not spread information or hoax news
Examples of Legal Norms in the School Environment
- Men’s hair should not be long
- Every student is required to attend the ceremony on Monday
- If someone is late for school will be given a penalty
Examples of Violation of Legal Norms
Spreading hoax news or fake news is a violation of legal norms and has been stated in the Law of the Republic of Indonesia Number 11 of 2008 concerning Information and Electronic Transactions Article 28 paragraph 1, which reads “Every person intentionally and without right spreads false news and misleading which results in consumer losses in Electronic Transactions.”
Not Wearing a Helmet
When riding a motorcycle, in order to protect yourself and safety together, you must wear a helmet. If a motorcyclist does not use a helmet, he will be subject to sanctions or penalties as stated in Law No. 22 of 2009 concerning Road Traffic and Transportation Article 291 paragraph 1, which reads “Everyone who drives a motorcycle does not wear a helmet of the Indonesian national standard as meant in Article 106 paragraph (8) shall be punished with imprisonment for a maximum of 1 (one) month or a fine of a maximum of Rp. 250,000.00 (two hundred and fifty thousand rupiahs).”
Norms in Community Life
Basically, it is not only legal norms that apply in the social environment, but there are several other norms that apply in society. Then, what are the norms that still apply in the social environment?
1. Religious Norms
Religious norms are norms that apply in society in the form of God’s commands and prohibitions that are already in each holy book according to their respective beliefs.
2. Norms of decency
Norms of decency are norms that apply in society in the form of an action that has been agreed upon by the community itself. Usually this norm applies to someone who is older and younger, such as parents respecting young children and young people respecting their parents.
3. Norms of Decency
Norms of decency are norms that exist in society where violators will create feelings of guilt and regret for having made the mistake.