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Public Law: What is it, Principles, Branches, and More

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What is Public Law?

Public law is defined as part of the legal systems whose rules affect the public authority and its relations with people, organizations, and with itself, insofar as it is conceived as a symbol of the interests of the State.

In other disputes, the branch of positive law regulates the relations of subordination and supremacy between the State. And individuals between the different bodies that make up public power.

Therefore, the general rule is also part of the legal system built by cultures to govern their operation and to which everyone submits voluntarily.

Principles of Public Law

Public law can vary greatly depending on the country to which it is subject, but as a whole, it is governed by two guiding principles:

Principle of Legality

It establishes that any measure adopted by public authorities must be register in the applicable legal system; that is, it must have legal certainty by its competence and nature. However it means that the State cannot break the law.

Principle of  Empire

It establishes that any relationship between the State and also individuals is exercised from a situation of inequality. The first has the domain (empire) for which he will exercise public authority. In other words, the State is the authority.

Branches of Public Law

Branches Of Public Law

The branches of public law are generally:

Constitutional Law

This branch deals with the interpretation of the legal texts of the Constitution and also other basic written norms for the construction of the State.

Administrative Law

One regulates the public administration and modulates the operation and also relations between the different organs that make up the State.

Public International Law

It is about the relations between the various nation-states of the planet: their standard plans, their agreements and economic exchanges, their border disputes, etc.

Criminal Law

It is about the criminal capacity of the State, that is, its ability to punish those who break the law and coerce the citizens among those it governs.

Procedural Law

It regulates the mechanisms and processes of the State in the exercise of its power and guarantees the rights and minimum proportions at all times.

Employment Law

This branch refers to the legal framework that regulates work to guarantee its dignity, legality and fair remuneration, and the rights and responsibilities of workers, employers, unions, etc.

Financial Law

Regulates public expenditure processes to ensure transparency and proper government behavior in public funds.

Tax Law

One relates to taxes, levies, and also other forms of tax collection that finance the government.

Electoral Law

It is responsible for regulating the succession and replacement procedures for leaders at all levels of each public power.

What is Private Law?

What is Private Law_ Private law is a branch of progressive law (explicitly provided for in written laws and legal bodies). Dedicated to regulating individuals’ various activities and relationships based on legal equality between them.

Difference Between Public Law and Private Law

The distinction between public law and private law goes back to the ancient years of Roman law. When the need  to distinguish between the legal questions of the individual (personal law)

The two branches, therefore, differ in their scope of action when it comes to matters that affect individuals or even the State. As one of them (commercial transactions, inheritance, private property, etc.), we speak of personal rights; when it comes to the State and the rules of existence and the social pact (public instruction, public funds, functioning of the State, etc.), we speak of public law.

Examples of Public Law

Examples of public law are numerous and straightforward:

  • The conviction of an offender is register by the security authorities (criminal law) and decide by a competent court (procedural law).
  • The interpretation of the provisions of the national Constitution. To determine whether or not it was correctly fulfill in the presidential elections.
  • Therefore review of international sovereignty treaties for arbitration in a third country affected by a conflict (international law).
  • Defense of a worker whose rights have been violate.


Public law is the part of the law that governs relations between legal persons and also a government, between different institutions within a state. Between other branches of government, and relationships between persons of direct concern to society.

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