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Classification of Laws - Civil and criminal law - Diploma in Legal StudiesLegal Studies - Classification of Laws
Classification of Laws
In November 1999 designer Bettina Liano won a Federal Court injunction
to stop another company from copying her styles.
There are many different types of law that can be categorised in a number
of different ways. Laws can be classified according to their purpose, area
of regulation, origin and public or private nature. Generally,
classifications focus on the area of regulation or control provided by
different branches of the law.
Civil and criminal law
Criminal law is made up of offences against the state. These offences
represent violations of established legal rules about expected patterns of
conduct in society. These violations are prosecuted in the courts and are
subject to sanction when a person is convicted. Criminal law involves
offences such as murder, kidnapping, conspiracy, armed robbery and tax
evasion. However, criminal law can be further categorised into the two main
types of offence: indictable offences and summary offences. An indictable
offence is a serious criminal offence such as rape, which is tried before a
judge and jury in a superior court such as the County Court. A summary
offence is a less serious offence such as speeding, which is tried without
a jury before a magistrate in the Magistrates' Court.
Civil law is the area of law regulating relationships between
individuals and groups and providing for compensation where an individual's
rights are infringed by others. The purpose of the civil law is to obtain a
remedy for a party who claims to have had their rights infringed and who
has subsequently suffered loss or injury in some way. As a general rule,
any legal dispute not involving a crime is classified as coming within the
civil law. Civil law can be divided into many parts including:
* law of torts
* law of contract
* family law
* company law
* administrative law
* property law
* consumer law
* discrimination law
It should be noted that not the entire area of each of the above is
considered civil law. For example, certain criminal offences related to
child abuse and domestic violence within the broad area of 'family law' are
clearly criminal law matters.
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