Difference Between Public and Private Law

The legal system caters to two broad subjects; public law and private law. Public law simply is the legal interaction between a state and its citizens, while private law deals with legal relationships among individuals or concerned companies.

A breach of public law from an individual will result in a direct confrontation with the state, with the offense being considered as criminal. It can also take international importance and will define the relationship between states. Private law is more limited.


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    Public Law

    As mentioned earlier, public law is a branch of law which regulates the association between individuals and the state or government. The pubic authorities are responsible for making, applying, maintaining and enforcing certain legal procedures which will benefit the society as whole and promote equality.   Public law can be further split into three subdivisions;

    Constitutional law deals with three important branches of state – executive, legislature and judiciary.

    Administrative law is regulated by executive branches of government and will deal in laws related to international trade, taxation, manufacturing, pollution etc.

    Criminal Law takes into consideration the sanctions imposed by a state on citizens or corporations in order to promote and achieve social justice.

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    Private Law

    Private law is generally referred to as civil law and is practiced in order to solve disputes among individuals or between private parties. The individuals or private companies first establish contracts or agreements in accordance with the state law and are obligated to follow their own specific guidelines. In case of any dispute, they can then indulge in practicing private laws, in private capacity, with no government involvement.

    Private laws will essentially deals with various civil law categories which include contact law, law of torts, property law, family law, labor law, commercial law, corporation law as well succession (testamentary laws). It is primary concern is to regulate the rights of individuals in a domestic level.

    In most countries, private law is a part of or referred to as common law, where contracts between governments and individuals are established and dealt at private level. Therefore, in some situations, state can be held liable for unlawful practices. However, in some instances, state is simply involved to regulate and enforce the relevant private law.

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