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Kinds and Classifications of Law

There are various kinds and classifications of law. Law can be classified into various kinds according to the needs of society. The state makes laws as per the time and situation of society. Kinds and classifications of law have been discussed below:

Kinds of Law

There are various kinds of laws. No single law is sufficient to control all the activities of society, so different laws have been made to regulate such activities.

Common law

Common law is the law made by judicial decision. It is not declared by a law-making body, i.e., sovereign. It is binding in nature.

Equity law

Equity law refers to the principle of fairness. While it is often used interchangeably with the related principle of equality, equity encompasses a wide variety of educational models, programs, and strategies that may be considered fair but not necessarily equal.

Environmental law

Environmental law is the law relating to the environment. It deals with the management of the environment and strategies for tackling the problems affecting the environment.

Military law

Military law is the law that regulates the behaviour of those serving in the armed forces and subjected to this jurisdiction of court martial.


The legislation of the subordinate law-making body is known as a law. Laws made by other than the legislature are called laws.

Salmond has described the following kinds of laws:

  1. Positive law: The chief advocate of positive law is John Austin, who defines law as a command of the sovereign that must be followed by a person. If anyone doesn’t follow this law, then he/she will be punished. It is also called imperative law. Imperative law means a type of law that is enacted and imposed by a sovereign political authority.
  2. Physical and Scientific Law: Physical law, or the law of sciences, is an expression of the uniformity of nature and general principles expressing the regularity and harmony observed in the activities and operations of the universe. Physical law are also known as law of nature and natural law, E.g rule of motion, rule of gravity, rule of heat, etc.
  3. Natural and moral law: Natural law, or moral law, follows the principles of natural right and wrong and follows the rules of natural justice. It is also called divine law, law of reasons, universal law, eternal law, etc.
  4. Conventional law: Conventional law means any law or rule agreed upon by two or more people to perform certain duties towards each other. It is a contract between a number of parties that each party is bound by. E.g., the law of cricket, the law of any game, or the law of contract.
  5. Customary law: The law that is developed from custom is called customary law. It means any rule of action that is followed by a by a voluntary group of people. Customary law may differ from society to society.
  6. Constitutional law: Constitutional law is a body of rules governing the relationship between the sovereign and his subjects. Constitutional law defines the constitution and specifies the rights, duties, functions, and powers of the government and its organs.
  7. International law: International law is the body of legal principles and rules that civilized independent states consider binding upon them in their mutual relations. International law regulates the relationship between two or more countries.
  8. Practical and technical law: Practical and technical law consists of rules for the attainment of certain ends. These rules guide us as to what we ought to do in order to attain a certain end. E.g., the law of health, the law of music, etc.
  9. Civil law: civil law is the law of the state, the law of the land, and so on. Civil law refers to the municipal law of a particular state having binding force.
  10. Administrative law: Administrative law is a law relating to administration. It determines the organisation, power, and duties of administrative authorities.

Classifications of Law

Law can be classified and subclassified in various forms. With the passage of time, different laws have been made to solve new problems. The following are the classifications of law:

Civil and Criminal law

Civil law is a part of private law that defines the rights, duties, and obligations of people. It’s aim is to guarantee the rights and duties of individuals. Violations of civil laws affect individuals rights and duties. The person who violates civil law is subject to civil liabilities like compensation a fine, etc. Civil cases are decided in a civil court of law. If someone violates the rights of others, then the courts will make the wrongdoer compensate the victims. Civil law includes family law, labor law, tort law, and business law.

Criminal law is the part of public law that deals with crime, offenses, and punishment. It’s aim is to prevent crime and criminal activities in society and maintain law and order. In a civilized society, crime is considered wrong by the whole society; that’s why it is called a branch of public law. The person who violates criminal law is subject to punishment like sentencing jail, death penalty, etc. Criminal cases are decided in the criminal court of law.

Substantive and Procedural law

Substantive law is a body of law that deals with the rights, duties, and obligations of people. So it is also called the law of rights. It deals with matters inside the court. Substantive law already exists in the state after making an act, rules, and regulations. Substantive law defines what will happen when someone violates substantive law. It regulates the conduct and relations of the parties with respect to the matters being litigated.

Procedural law is a body of law that deals with the procedure to be followed if someone’s rights or duties are violated. It deals with matters outside of court. Procedural law exists when the substantive law is violated. It deals with the evidence, procedure, and action of the court when substantive law is violated. It regulates the conduct and relations of the court and litigants with respect to litigation.

Municipal and International law

Municipal law is a body of law applicable within a state. It means any law that is applied internally within a nation. It regulates the relations of individuals to individuals and individuals to states. It includes the constitution, codes, statutes, and precedent. It is made for maintaining good relations and harmony among the citizens of a country.

International law can be defined as a body of rules recognized by two or more nations as binding upon one another. International law is a law that is binding on all countries in the world. International law and rules are recognized by many countries as being bound by them. International conventions and treaties are some examples of international law.

Private and Public law

Private law is a body of law that regulates the conduct of individuals who are not directly concerned with the state. The law that deals only with individuals and their relationships is called private law. It deals with individuals only, not with the state. Family law, the law of torture, and conventional law are examples of private law.

The law that deals with the structure and function of government is called public law. It deals the relation between individuals to individuals and individuals to state. A breach of public law is considered a crime. Constitutional law, administrative law, and criminal law are examples of public law.

National and Foreign law

The law of a particular nation is called national law. It is also called domestic law. It is binding in nature. The laws of Nepal are examples of national law for us.

The law of a foreign country is called foreign law. It is historical in nature. The laws of India, Japan, and China are examples of foreign law for Nepal.


We can say that one law cannot regulate all the activities of humans and society. That’s why different kinds and classifications of law have been developed from time to time. The law keeps on developing according to the time and necessity of society.

Read this also:

1. Meaning and definition of law

2. Sources of law

3. Click here for latest news

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Anish Kumar Tiwari
Anish Kumar Tiwari
Anish Kumar Tiwari is the Editor-in-Chief and SEO Expert at Law Scholars Nepal who is continuously publishing law related information and legal knowledge with the aim of increasing legal awareness in Nepal.
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