Earning this merit badge enables a Scout to learn about the history and kinds of laws, the purpose and methods of law enforcement, consumer protection agencies, emerging law, and careers in the legal profession.


  1. Define "law." Tell some of its sources. Describe functions it serves.
  2. Discuss two of the following:
    • Justinian's Code, the Code of Hammurabi, and the Magna Carta
    • The development of the jury system
    • Two famous trials in history
  3. Tell what civil law is; tell what criminal law is. Tell the main differences between them. Give examples of each.
  4. Ask five people (not more than one from your immediate family) about the role of law enforcement officers in our society. Discuss their answers with them. Go to a law enforcement officer in your neighborhood and ask about his or her responsibilities and duties. Report your findings.
  5. Tell about several laws that were passed to protect the consumer and the seller. Tell about several organizations that provide help to consumers and sellers.
  6. Do ONE of the following:
    • Attend a session of a civil or criminal court. Write 250 words or more on what you saw.
    • Plan and conduct a mock trial with your troop or school class. After the trial is over, discuss it with the group.
  7. Arrange a visit with a lawyer who works for a business, bank, title company, or government agency. Find out his or her duties and responsibilities. Report what you have learned.
  8. Explain the requirements for becoming a lawyer in your state. Describe how judges are selected in your state.
  9. Make a list of 15 jobs that deal with some aspects of law or legal processes. Tell which you prefer. Why?
  10. Tell where people can go to obtain the help of a lawyer if they are unable to pay for one. Tell what you can do if you can afford a lawyer but do not know of any in your area.
  11. Discuss with your counselor the importance in our society of TWO of the following areas of law that have recently emerged and are still developing:
    • Environmental law
    • Computers and the Internet
    • Copyright and the Internet
    • Space travel and satellites orbiting Earth


Scouting Literature

Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, and Crime Prevention merit badge pamphlets


  • Aaseng, Nathan. You Are the Juror. Oliver Press, 1997.
  • Abadinsky, Howard. Law and Justice: An Introduction to the American Legal System. Third edition. Nelson-Hall, 1995.
  • Abramson, Jeffrey. We, the Jury: The Jury System and the Ideal of Democracy. Harvard University Press, 2000.
  • Adler, Stephen J. Jury: Trial and Error in the American Courtroom. Times Books, 1994.
  • American Bar Association. A Life in Law. American Bar Association, 1999. (A guide to law as a career. Call toll-free 800-285-2221 to order; specify product code 235-0036.)
  • Arbetman, Lee P., Margaret E. Fisher, and Edward L. O'Brien. Street Law: A Course in Practical Law. South-Western Thomson Learning, 1999.
  • Arbetman, Lee P., and Richard L. Roe. Great Trials in American History: Civil War to the Present. West Publishing Company College and School Division, 1984.
  • Besenjak, Cheryl. Copyright Plain & Simple. Career Press, 2000.
  • Bjornlund, Lydia D. The U.S. Constitution: Blueprint for Democracy. Lucent Books, 1999.
  • Carrel, Annette. It's the Law: A Young Person's Guide to Our Legal System. Volcano Press, 1994.
  • Emert, Phyllis Raybin. Top Lawyers and Their Famous Cases. Oliver Press, 1996.
  • Irons, Peter. The Courage of Their Convictions. Free Press, 1988.
  • Knight, Alfred H. The Life of the Law: The People and Cases That Have Shaped Our Society From King Alfred to Rodney King. Oxford University Press, 1998.
  • Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. HarperCollins, 1999.
  • Lipson, Eric B., and Greta B. Lipson. Everyday Law for Young Citizens. Teaching and Learning Company, 2000.
  • Monk, Linda R. The Bill of Rights: A User's Guide. Third edition. Close Up Foundation, 2000.
  • Morin, Isobel V. Our Changing Constitution: How and Why We Have Amended It. Millbrook Press, 1998.
  • National Crime Prevention Council Staff. Community Works: Smart Teens Make Safer Communities. National Crime Prevention Council, 1999.
  • Renstrom, Peter G. The American Law Dictionary. A B C-CLIO, 1991.
  • Roleff, Tamara L., editor. Civil Liberties: Opposing Viewpoints. Greenhaven Press, 1999.