Introduction to Public Law

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What is law?

Norms, Enforced, By Authority, As supervised by Courts

John Austin = β€œLaw is a command of a Sovereign Power enforced by coercion”

A. V. Dicey and the Rule of Law (19th C theorist)

All citizens are subject to the law in the same way (as opposed to a ruler being above the law in divine right)

You are only punished if you have done something wrong and not because you do not like someone

Everyone should be treated equally by the law (Equality)

Everyone has individual rights

Examples of Classifications

France has a codified (i.e. written) constitution where statutes, laws and other procedures are laid out in the Civil Code of France

The UK has an uncodified (i.e. unwritten) constitution and common law

Criminal law directly applies sanction to criminal behaviour

Civil law deals with private issues with no state intervention

Common law is the part of English law that is derived from custom and judicial precedent rather than statutes

Statute is laws made by parliament

Substantive law is the rules we have e.g. shoplifting is a crime

Procedural law is what we then do with the shoplifter, where they are taken, and how long they can be questioned for, for example (thus, you build procedural law aroudn the substantive law)

Domestic Law is the law of England and Wales

International law is the law that governs the relationship between states

Public and private law

Private law:

  • Private law involves the relationship between individuals e.g. contract, family, land
  • It is to do with the interest of the individual

Public law:

  • Public law involves the relationship between the individual and the state e.g. constitutional, administrative, criminal law
  • It is to do with the interest of the community

You can usually tell if a case is public or private by looking at the actors → if one is the State it is probably a public case e.g. R v Clarke

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CONTENT

Domestic and international law

Domestic Law is the law within a state and concerns the internal affairs of the state

International law regulates the relationship between states (usually by treaties) e.g. treaties on labour rights to ensure workers have same protection abroad as they do at home

  • Treaties can be bilateral (one country and another) e.g. trade
  • Or multilateral (many countries) e.g. migration paths

Both Domestic and International law involve public and private law

Private International Law:

  • This is to do with conflicting laws between jurisdictions (usually involving goods, capital and people) e.g. if your ex-wife leaves jurisdiction with your children and therefore have no access to them this will be an issue of private international law

Public International Law:

  • This is to do with the relations of states with one another

EU Law

EU founded 1957 by 6 member states who want to trade with each other to lift them out of post war gloom

Now it is more focused socially and politically

The member states have surrendered some sovereignty (i.e. pooled sovereignty) to the EU to exercise power over them

It is a supranational legal framework with its own structure

The EU can enforce norms on member states and citizens

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