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Classifications of Law, Negative and Positive Effects of Law

Updated on February 27, 2016

Class, Effect, and Negative Impact of Laws

Classifications of Law, relating to Legal System
Classifications of Law, relating to Legal System | Source

After going through this well-written article on the mentioned topic, the reader will be able to:

  • Give concrete definition of the word "Law"
  • Explain Law in detail, irrespective of your department or major
  • Know and explain classifications of Law
  • Define, explain, and even teach people on constitutional Law
  • Learn the negative and positive functions of Law.

Topic Introduction

As a traveler who has traveled through many places, I have not seen a place without any rule governing them. Truly, there is no society without Law. Think of it, how will your society be without any set of rules governing that your area? Let me write about young male youths, who are notorious, low morally trained and lack self control for instance. These young men I want to use to set example are those who always want to “have” any girl that pass their way. Without any Law which forbids their intentions, all the young females around that vicinity will become pregnant overnight. But, what is Law?

Law is defined as a set of rules and regulations or specie of commands handed down to the people by the sovereign with attendant sanctions, punishments or threats of sanctions. Any Law defaulted by any citizen of any state has its punishments. It is the duty of everyone to know the Law guiding his society irrespective of the course studied by the person. Law is a general course for all the citizens of all nations. Do not say that it is not your business to know the ‘writings’ in the Constitution of your country, and that’s why comes the statement: ignorance of the Law is no accusation.

Law has its positive and negative effects. Law is important but in the other hand does not perform very well at large. But, the truth is that Law has more advantages than disadvantages attributed to it. There are certain things which Law does not allow citizens to do. Again, in some cases, the accused may be guilty while lawyer protects them in the Law court.

There are classifications of Law. Each class has its explanations and where it is applicable. The individual classifications of Law have their source also. The basic classifications of Law in this text are public, private, Constitutional and Criminal Law. Private Law is not the same with public Law. In the same way, Constitutions Law is not the same with criminal Law, though they are all Law.

Classifications of Law

The classifications of Law are explained under this heading. These explanations are done using simple English words so that even one who is not in Law discipline can easily comprehend the message passed across.

  • Private Law. This Law concerns the right and duties of individuals with one another. Private Law is a civil Law. The Law that governs the relationship between you and I is a private law. The Law that governs the relationships between husband and wife is categorized in this class. Examples of private Law are Law of contract, property Law, family Law, Law of tort and equity, Law of trust, and commercial Law.

Commercial Law is the Law that govern the relationships between entrepreneurs. The Law that binds the relationships between a manufacturer and the retailer that he sells his goods to is a commercial Law. It governs the exchange of goods for value or

service. Family Law governs the relationships between father, mother, and children in every family. Example is the Law that details out what to be done and those not to be done in a family. Law of contract takes charge of the agreement made between two or more parties. Property Law governs the property own by individuals. Example of property is Land.

  • Public Law. This is a Law that deals with the relationship between the state and individuals or citizens. Public Law houses Constitutional, Administrative and Criminal Law. Public Law is like a tree that has many branches, because it comprises many other Law in itself. Administrative Law deals with the functions of government agencies within the state. It operates through prerogative orders. The Law that builds relationship between the government of a country and the citizens is a public Law.

  • Criminal Law. This is the Law that governs criminal activities in a state. According to the Law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a crime is defined as an act or omission punishable by state. This Law is found in the chapter 77 of the Law of Federal Republic of Nigeria, that is, the Criminal Code Act of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This part of the Law of every nation constitutes the offences that any person caught in criminal act will face. It details out the “proper music offenders will dance” when they default any Law of the nation. If ‘Richard’ robbed on a highway and many people were killed, this is the Law that judges Richard and states the kind of punishment he will face due to his bad act. The penalty of any who disobeys this kind of Law can be life imprisonment, death, or charge in terms of fine.

  • Constitutional Law. This is the “father” of all the Laws of every nation or state. It has power over every other Law governing any part of any nation. No Law of any nation has power over the Constitution. It is the Law which regulates the structure of a country, the power and functions of government, right and duties of the individual and provides remedies for unconstitutional acts. It regulates the relationships between the three arms of government, which includes the Executive, Legislature, and the Judiciary. This Law entails the functions of each of these three arms in any state.

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Positive and Negative Functions of Law

What are the positive and negative functions of Law?

Among all the classes of Law that had been detailed out, Law in general has its positive and negative functions. Among the positive functions of Law are as follow:

  • Law regulates social interactions between people and states (nations);
  • It protects the society;
  • It protects rights and liberty of individuals;
  • Law helps In maintaining social justice;
  • It protects citizens from arbitrary powers.

Also, the negative functions of Law are not left behind in any way. The negative functions of Law are as stated below:

  • It protects the interest of the oppressors especially in the dictatorial regime;
  • It sometimes delays and denies certain aspect of justice.


This article is written for academic purpose. Law had been classified as criminal, Constitutional, Private, and Public. These classes were also explained. The ‘head’ of all the classes is identified as the Constitutional Law, as any other Law submits to it. Also, the negative and positive functions of the Law were given.


General Principles of Law in Nigeria by Nick A. Obodo Eso;

Classification of Law 1 by Mr. Shipp.


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    • Uzochukwu Mike profile imageAUTHOR

      Okwuagbala Uzochukwu Mike P 

      16 months ago from Oba

      Thanks for your comment

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      16 months ago

      Thanks for your contributions


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