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Classification of Law

Classification of Law

According to Blackstone, “Law in its most general and comprehensive sense signified a rule of action and is applied indiscriminately to all kind of action whether animate, rational, irrational. Thus we say the laws of motion, of gravitation, of optics or mechanics as well as the laws of nature and of nations.”

Before understanding the classification of law we need to understand the Definition of law. The explanation differs from person to person and it may be seen from the different angle, and one angle does not take the view of the other. For a lawyer, the parameter of law is largely about cases. On the other hand, it is all about justice to be done in good conscience. Law is defined by different jurists on basis of its ‘nature’, ‘sources’ and in term of effect in the society and unless all the elements are taken into consideration it will not make a perfect definition of law.

 

Importance of Classification of Law

For a proper understanding of the law, it is necessary to classify it. Classification of is important because it becomes easy to understand the meaning, nature, and purpose of the law if it is classified properly. We can easily understand the subjects of that law and its enforcement measures. It also helps in getting the logical structure of the legal order. Further, it provides a systematic arrangement of rules. Classification of law also helps in the codification of law. It also tells the interrelation between different laws. And lastly, it is of a great help to the lawyers.

Classification is an age-old concept

Classification of law is not a new process, it has been done since early Roman time. There was a classification of civil and criminal law and both had a different procedure. Further, even in Hindu law, there was a classification of law. Even as the society started to develop there was a classification of International law and Municipal Law.

Limitations of classification of Law

  1. Any classification will have relative Value and not the universal value. As it is known that law changes from time to time and from place to place. The old law may be in some classification category but when the new law came in place of it might go in some other category.
  2. Classification keeping in mind a particular community or group may not be applicable to all, it may fall into one category in one country and it may fall into another category in another country.
  3. The distinction between different law is not very clear such as Torts, Contracts, Quasi Contracts.

Classification of Law

Classification of Law

International Law and Municipal Law

International Law

The law of the nations of the 18th century was classified as international law by Bentham. It consists of the rule which regulates relations between state.

International Law has evolved a Lot in previous years. Earlier there was even a doubt that whether the even international law is a law or not? Austin supported that international law was not a law as it lacked many elements of the law. Then comes jurists who believed that international law is a law and in fact a much superior law than municipal law. Kelson was one such jurist.

Now there is no doubt, and most of the system has recognized international law as a proper law and it is assuming more and more important as its scope is widening.

International law has been incorporated in national law by various countries such as the USA has declared that all the international law will be part of the law of the nation. The even UK has incorporated in their municipal laws and whenever there is a conflict between international law and municipal law courts will have to take a decision taking into consideration harmonious construction between them. India has also incorporated international law into their municipal law. Article 51 of the constitution talks about the same.

International law can be classified as given below
  1. Customary International law: these are rules that have been practiced from time immemorial between nations such as the law of the sea.
  2. Treaty Law: These are the rules made by the treaties between two or more countries.
Further, it can also be classified as
  1. Public international law: these are rules which govern the conduct and relations of state with others.
  2. Private international law: It includes rules and principles according to which the cases having foreign elements are decided. For eg. There is a contract between a person from India and USA, it will be decided by the private international law whenever the dispute arises.

Municipal Law

Municipal Law is Law of that nation, It is the domestic law that governs the subject of the state. It is opposite of international law. It includes state, provincial, territorial, regional, or local law of a state. The force of the state is the sanction behind the law. It is generally territorial in nature as it is applied only in the territory of the country. The municipal law can further be divided into Public law and Private Law.

Public Law and Private Law

Public Law

The state activities are largely regulated by the public law. It determines and regulates the organization and functioning of the state and determines the relation of state with its subjects. The term ‘Public’ implies either state, or sovereign part of it or a body, or individual holding a delegated authority under the state.

Public Law can further be divided into

Constitutional Law:

the law which determines the nature of the state and structure of the government. It is above and superior to the ordinary law of the land. It describes the composition and function of the 3 organs of the state. Ordinary law derives its value from the constitutional law.

Administrative Law:

it deals with function, power, and structure of the organs of administrative law. Further, It also deals with the exercise of the political power of the organs of the state within the limit of the constitution. It seeks to guarantee the citizen protection against arbitrary action by the authorities. It seeks to prevent a miscarriage of justice.

Criminal Law:

What we call criminal law broadly refers to federal and state laws that make certain behavior illegal and punishable by imprisonment and/or fines. Our legal system is largely comprised of two different types of cases: civil and criminal. Civil cases are disputes between people regarding the legal duties and responsibilities they owe each other. Criminal cases, meanwhile, are charges pursued by prosecutors for violations of criminal statutes. Criminal law defines crime and describes punishment for them. It is necessary for the maintenance of law and order in the society.

It aims at prevention of crime and punishment of the wrongdoer. In a civilized society, crime is always considered to be a crime against the state and not only individual and that is why the state is always a party in a criminal proceeding and that is why it comes under public law. it includes felonies and misdemeanors. The standard of proof for crimes is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Criminal law is governed by Indian Penal Code, Crpc, evidence Act etc.

Private Law

By ‘Private Person’ it is meant an individual, or a group of person, is a unit of state but in no matter represents a state.  The province of private law is the adjustment of relation, between person and person. Parties to a case may be a natural or artificial person, and state just acts as an arbitrator through courts. It does not mean that state regulates all the matters of the dispute between individual, it only regulates those matters which are considered to be of public importance.

 

Further classification of Private law is as follow

  1. The law of the person
  2. The law of property
  3. The law of obligation
  4. The conflict of laws

The law of obligation is further divided into 3 classes

  1. Contracts
  2. Quasi Contracts
  3. Torts

Civil Law and Criminal Law

Civil Law

It is a body of rules that defines and protects the private rights of citizens, offers legal remedies that may be sought in a dispute, and covers areas of law such as contracts, torts, property, and family law. It is derived from the laws of ancient Rome which used doctrines to develop a code that determined how legal issues would be decided. Further, it also expresses rights and duties of an individual and is also states remedies on the breach of those rights. It is also based on the principle of equity, good conscience, the general principle of law.

Criminal Law

What we call criminal law broadly refers to federal and state laws that make certain behavior illegal and punishable by imprisonment and/or fines. Our legal system is largely comprised of two different types of cases: civil and criminal. Civil cases are disputes between people regarding the legal duties and responsibilities they owe each other. Criminal cases, meanwhile, are charges pursued by prosecutors for violations of criminal statutes. Criminal law defines crime and describes punishment for them. It is necessary for the maintenance of law and order in the society.

It aims at prevention of crime and punishment of the wrongdoer. In a civilized society, crime is always considered to be a crime against the state and not only individual and that is why the state is always a party in a criminal proceeding and that is why it comes under public law. it includes felonies and misdemeanors. The standard of proof for crimes is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Criminal law is governed by Indian Penal Code, Crpc, evidence Act etc.

Substantive Law and Procedural Law

Substantive Law

The part of the law that creates, defines, and regulates rights.  Substantive law is that law which defines right. It is concerned with the end which is administration of justice. The substantive law refers to all categories of public and private law, including the law of contracts, real property, torts, andCriminal Law. Law of Contract, Law of Torts, Law of property, negotiable intruments are all substantive law

Procedural Law

In order to help ensure that the laws are applied fairly, there are certain rules and procedures that must be enforced when a court hears any case, whether civil or criminal. This set of laws, rules, and procedures is known as “procedural law.” Procedural law derives the way to achieve the remedies whenever there is a breach of right. It is called ‘Law of Action’ as it governs the process of litigation.

The procedural law deals with how to meet the ends of the justice. Procedural law is the body of law that deals with the technical aspects, such as duties and procedures for obtaining redress for a wrong. Procedural law is the rules for conducting a legal action. This is in contrast to “substantive law,” which refers to the actual laws by which a crime may be charged, or which govern how the facts of the case will be accepted and presented. Civil Procedure Code and Criminal Procedure code are examples of Procedural Law

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