In this article, we will try to understand the different branches of law.
Law is a system of rules and regulations that helps keep order in a society by controlling behavior of the citizens. It spans various sectors related to humans, society, business, transactions, security, fundamental rights and freedom of every individual, the elimination of criminals, administration of justice to the common man as well as criminal justice, education system, political system, and the defense system.
|Different Fields of Law|
This field deals with the laws made by the government for its offices. It consists of rule making, enforcement, and adjudication.
Admiralty and Maritime Law
This law deals with the territory in waters, domestic and international alike.
Arbitration means the hearing and determination of a dispute by an impartial referee selected by both the parties. The specialty of this field is that the lawyers can practice it on the basis of their own educational background. For example, a lawyer who has studied civil engineering can be a medium between the judges and the petitioner, and solve matters relating to construction and architectural issues.
As the name suggests, this field is related to the banking sector and the norms and rules for operation of banks.
This field of law is concerned with the society at large and deals with the codified laws in the country. It deals with disputes arising between individuals who are not criminal in nature.
Commercial law deals with the contracts between commodity manufacturers, distributors and consumers. It also deals with property laws. Bankruptcy laws, bills of exchange, insurance laws, credit card laws are examples of commercial laws.
This field of law deals with the price-fixing of any commodity or services in the market. Competition law forbids setting up prices that tends to monopolize the business owner in the market. It is also known as the Antitrust law in the USA.
This is the mother of all laws in a country. The constitution is the basis of all laws and any law enacted should be in accordance with it. In case it is not, then the constitution prevails over it. It basically defines all the fundamental rights and duties of not only the citizens but the government too.
This law deals with the standards set by the government and the state governments for any kind of construction like roads, buildings, malls, housing societies, etc. It deals with issues like the carpet area, the number of elevators, parking areas, etc. Non compliance might result in demolition of the structure.
Consumer Protection Law
Consumer protection is a comparatively new branch of codified law. It deals with setting standards for fair practices and regulations on marketing, advertising, product ingredients, etc. It ensures that the consumers are not misguided by the mentioned factors in the advertisements, and thus it is mandatory to provide detailed information for each commodity.
Corporate / Company Law
Corporate laws covers a range of subjects like contracts, matters dealing with intellectual property rights of corporations, business liabilities, legislative compliance, etc. It also deals with separate legal personality, transferred shares, powers of the board of directors, and limited liability.
Education laws are the collective laws of rules and regulations enacted by the government for the entire education system. The strength of a class, the subjects to be taught, the syllabus, the examination pattern, the privatization of schools, teaching methods, qualification of the teachers are some examples of the laws related to education.
This is one field of law that can be subdivided into TV, radio, music, theater, films, etc. because these happen to be the mediums of entertainment. Entertainment laws thus also include laws of defamation, right of privacy, production agreements, licensing, intellectual properties, copyrights, trademarks, etc.
Environmental law, like the education law, is a cluster of laws, regulations, treaties related to the environment. It consists of laws related to conservation and management of natural resources, pollution, etc. For example, the Kyoto Protocol is meant to control the global warming and is made by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Family law, as the name suggests deals with family affairs arising in the domestic purview which includes, marriage, adoptions, divorce, alimony, property distribution, domestic violence, surrogacy, etc. Divorce lawyers handle cases of alimony and custody of children too.
Health laws are applicable to the healthcare industry, patients’ health, and manufacturers of equipment used in the health sector. Health law is different from the medical laws. However, it often coincides with ethical issues, consent given by patients / guardians, law of contract between the doctor-patient, etc.
Human Rights Law
Human or civil rights are laws that protect every individual’s fundamental and basic rights like freedom to practice any religion, right to education, freedom of expression, right to constitutional remedies, freedom of association, movement, etc. Although it is not a law that binds you legally, it is considered as one of the basis of political obligation.
Information Technology / Cyber Law
Cyber law is a very recent development which has come into existence because of the use of Internet. Communication through emails, transactions on the Internet come into the purview of this law. Uploading any information or material that is illegal or encroaches upon somebody’s privacy or if undue advantage of the freedom of expression takes place, the cyber law takes care of it.
As the name suggests, this field of law is related to the foreign citizens and their permit to work in any non-native countries. This law is also a part of the Nationality law which defines the citizenship of foreigners and their rights to travel. This law also extends to the Right of Asylum, refugees and stateless citizens.
Laws related to various businesses of insurance policies, claims, warranties are included in this field of law. Some areas insurance law covers are health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, worker’s compensation, malpractice insurance, etc.
Intellectual Property Law
Intellectual property is not something tangible. It includes things like the scientists’ rights on their inventions, authors’ rights on their books, article or any publication, corporates’ rights on their signatory logos, etc. Copyrights and patents are dealt within this field of law. Music composers, cartoonists, etc. too have their rights on their creations and consult attorneys for the same. A trademark attorney focuses on protecting business assets such as brand names, logos and slogans.
This field extends to the international areas like the United Nations Organization and also has to do with human rights, business and economic policies. The GATT is one example of the international economic law.
This is the most important and useful law for the masses. Rights of the labor class in any company, big or small comes under the labor law. Enforcement of compulsory standards is also included. Likewise the employers also have benefits under this law as far as liabilities, union strikes, and retrenchments are concerned.
Law of Evidence
Evidence in any form, oral e.g. affidavits, testimonies, etc. or any tangible object that plays a role in any judicial proceeding comes under the purview of law of evidence. Authenticity, tampering, exclusion, burden of proof, etc. are factors which are included in the law of evidence.
Law of Tort
Law of tort is one of the common laws that handles tricky civil issues like nuisance, negligence, false imprisonment, defamation, slander, liabilities, breach of duty, etc. It can basically be defined as any civil wrong that amounts to encroachment or ‘injury’ to the rights of others. Injury is nothing but violation of other’s rights. This is accompanied by payment of compensation.
Military law is a completely separate entity of the legal system and has different rules altogether. Although all the commissioned officers come under the scanner of military law, the civilians in the military are also subjected to the military laws in some cases. The jurisdiction depends on the events and different situations. This field of law is restricted to military officers alone. And it is accessible to the common man only in those countries which have passed the Right to Information Act otherwise it comes under the Official Secrets Act.
Property Law / Real Estate Law
Real estate law encompasses the ownership issues of land and / or property. It also helps in possession rights, usage rights, sales rights, tenant issues, etc. Mortgaging, lease agreements, agent brokerage, real estate investments, cross border relocation of people, etc are also areas where property law comes into play.
Taxation and Customs Law
This is one field of law that keeps differing according to the statutes and court decisions. Entities like the people, the state, corporates, etc. come under the purview of customs and taxation law.