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What Is Public Law And What Are Its Major Practice Areas?

By Expert Author: Davis Walker

Public law governs relationships between individuals and the government. Public law comprises of five major areas: constitutional law, criminal law, tax law, administrative law and all procedural law. The rules that prevail in public law are. Laws which are concerned with relationships between individuals belong to private law.

The primary goal of public law at both union and state levels is to deal with the societal problems of a broad nature.

The relationships that public law governs are asymmetric and unequal. The central or local government bodies can make decisions about the rights of the individuals. The government must also obey the laws. For example, if a citizen is unhappy with a decision of an administrative authority, he can ask a court for a judicial review.

Below mentioned are a few prime areas of public law:

1) Constitutional law: It lays out the foundations of the country. The constitutional law postulates the supremacy of law in the functioning of the country.

It also sets out the form of government; how its different branches should work, how the representatives are elected or appointed and the division of responsibilities and powers among them. Traditionally, there are three basic elements of government: the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.

Additionally, these laws describe the basic human rights and what are the civil and political rights that citizens have. It sets a clear and fundamental boundary between what any government must and must not do.

In most of the countries’ jurisdictions, the constitutional law is a written document, called the Constitution, which sometimes has other amendments too. However, in some countries, such a supreme enshrined written document does not exist purely due to historical or political reasons; for example, the Constitution of the UK is an unwritten one.

2) Administrative law: It refers to the body of law that regulates bureaucratic- managerial procedures and also defines the powers of administrative agencies. These laws are not enforced by the judicial or legislative branches but by the executive branch of a government.

This body of law usually regulates the foreign trade, like manufacturing, export and import, pollution, taxation etc.

3) Criminal law: It involves the state imposing penalties for certain defined crimes committed by individuals or businesses, only so that the society can achieve justice and remain in a state of orderliness. This is different from civil law in which civil actions are disputes between two parties that are not of a significant public concern.

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