Question 1. A number of the functions of the law can be viewed as being contradictory. For example, one function is to maintain the status quo, whereas another is to facilitate orderly change. What other functions could be in conflict with one another? How can the law simultaneously have seemingly inconsistent functions?
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The law serves many functions, some of which are often viewed as contradictory. For instance, one function of the law is to maintain the status quo while the other is to facilitate orderly change. These two functions appear to be contradictory. However, upon a closer look at each of the functions, it emerges that they are not in conflict with one another. In other words, one function applies only when the other one cannot.
Through facilitating the maintenance of the status quo, the law is useful in preserving peace by preventing any forceful overthrow of the current government. Pound states that in the beginnings of law, the purpose was simply to maintain peace (106). A society cannot subsist unless there is internal peace. The function of facilitating orderly change has to be preceded a ‘status quo’. In this regard, these functions should not be viewed as being in conflict with one another.
Question 2: as courts decide cases involving the Internet and new kinds of issues, what role, if any, does precedent play? What role should it play? What difficulties could arise?
Court cases involving the Internet and many other emerging issues reflect the need for the existing laws to be amended in reflection of these changes. In this regard, a precedent plays a very important role in ensuring that justice prevails even in circumstances whereby technology is constantly changing. It also serves to send an alert to the policymakers that time to amend the existing laws is now.
Faloutsos observes that as with all other issues, precedents involving Internet matters and many other new issues present many difficulties to the legal (251). It may be difficult to apply the existing law to these new issues. Additionally, says Eysenbach, the legal practitioners may not understand the arguments being raised because of their technical nature (11).
Additionally, many new issues such as the Internet are of a global nature. The Internet is borderless, meaning that these issues are best arbitrated at the international level. Whether both parties to the dispute are from the same country or different countries, it becomes difficult to determine which statutes to use in such court cases.