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This is an example sentence from 大辞林's definition of 定める.

法律の―・めるところにより処罰する

I think this means something like "punish according to the law". But couldn't you just say 法律により処罰する? What does 定めるところ add? What does ところ refer to?

Is 法律 the subject of 定める? Maybe not, because in another example sentence, 規則 is marked as the object:「規則を―・める」

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法律により means "according to the law", whereas 法律の定めるところにより literally means "according to what the law prescribes". This 法律 is the subject of 定める; you can say both "[someone]が法律を定める" and "法律が[rule]を定める". For this ところ, see this.

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