Public and private law: differences

In general, the wide areas of law known as private and public law do not overlap. Sometimes, though, there can be situations when these come into contact when exercised. The most common definitions which explain public law always contain the most important characteristic: the relationship between structures of power and those which have to succumb to it. Public law, with all its subdivisions, always governs the relationship between the government and its subjects. On the other hand, private law deals withs subjects which stand on equal ground, it is about the relationships between individuals. It also has many subdivisions.

Public Law

Post4aAs mentioned, public law governs the relationships between the state and its subjects. The government has various branches and institutions which make it up, and they form different kinds of relationships with the individual citizens and other legal entities like companies or organizations. In short, it is about the relationship of those in the position of power versus those who are not.

The usual subdivisions of public law are as follows: constitutional, administrative and criminal law.

Post4bConstitutional law

This area of law deals with the constitution, the legal act of highest power. All other laws of one legal system have to stem from the constitution and be by it. Constitutional law deals mostly with questions like the division of power: the executive, judicial and legislative branches of power.

Administrative law

It deals with the functions of the government and the tasks it has to fulfill to serve the citizens of the state. It handles issues like the economy, trade, taxation, public service and so on.

Post4cCriminal law

This important part of the legal system handles crimes. It has to deal with social conduct regulation and treat socially unacceptable phenomena which include dangerous behavior, threats to property, health, and safety etc. These are considered threats to the order of the society and criminal law regulates how the offenders are to be treated so that the order is maintained.

Private law

While the public law has the difficult task of defining relationships between structures of power and those who are subdued to it, private law is about equality, freedom, personal interest, and good faith.The private law regulates relationships between private entities like individuals and other private bodies. It has several important sub-areas which regulate important topics like contracts, property, succession, family and so on.

Post4dPrivate law has many areas which include: succession laws, family law, obligations law, authorship law, merchant law, labor law and many others. Most commonly, all the areas of private law are found in a single codification (Civil Code) or a few of them. For example, all the laws concerning the family will be codified in one law, all the laws which deal with labor in another and so on.

As said earlier, there are instances when public and the private law may overlap, but the legislators try to handle situations like these with prudent laws. Still, practical application is not always the same as the intention of the legislature, so a clear demarcation line between the two areas  – public and private law – cannot be drawn.