What is Positive Law Characteristics Branches diff. Natural Law

Positive Law

Positive law is called, fundamentally, the written corpus of laws , that is, the set of legal norms established by a legislative body and compiled in a National Constitution or code of norms (not just laws, but all types of legal norms ).

Positive law, contrary to natural law (inherent to human beings ) or customary law (instituted by custom), thus obeys a social and legal pact established by the communities themselves for their regulation and the exercise of peace , since the laws are written and sovereign approved.

These types of laws regulate citizen behavior , the performance of State bodies and private freedoms , that is, they create the framework for coexistence , justice and the resolution of problems necessary for life in society . These laws remain in force until they are repealed by a new legal framework or discarded by popular and sovereign decision.

Thus, it is possible to speak of two forms of positive law: the current application and the one that is not in force . The first acts according to what has already been said, while the second constitutes the legal history of a nation or group. To it can be added the legal history of the culture to which the community belongs.

See also: law

Characteristics of positive law

First, positive law is a system of coercive norms, that is, they can be used to force others to act in a certain way . The primary function of the State, seen in this way, is to ensure compliance with these norms, including through the monopoly of violence (repression, legal bodies, etc.).

On the other hand, any positive regulation must be written, published and disseminated in the governing community, that is, it must be public knowledge. A law cannot be obeyed if nobody knows it and, for that, there are physical supports on which legal regulations are printed and disseminated: constitutions, codes of various types, regulations, etc.

And finally, positive law is not definitive: it is constantly changing, remodeling, updating and adapting to the legal and social reality of the communities it regulates. The history of positive law is also, in some ways, that of the legal needs of citizens.


Positive law is mainly classified into two categories or branches: public law and private law . This division dates back to ancient Roman times and is based on the distinction between matters in the private life of the people and matters in the public life of the state. Each slope has its own branches, which are detailed below:

Branches of public law:

  • Constitutional law . The one who organizes public powers, the powers of the State and their relationship with citizens.
  • Administrative law . One that concerns the administration of state assets and resources.
  • Criminal law . The one that regulates the way the State represses and punishes actions that jeopardize the framework of social coexistence provided for in the Constitution and its various codes.
  • Public international law . The one that governs and regulates the relations between the different States existing in a certain geographic region (which can be the whole world).
  • Ecclesiastical lawThe one that governs the relationship between religious institutions and the State.

Branches of private law:

  • Civil law . One that regulates private relations between people, their rights, freedoms , goods and transmission of hereditary goods.
  • Commercial law . One that governs the transactions and exchanges of goods and services.
  • Labor law . One that governs labor relations, i.e. employers and workers .
  • Rural lawOne who regulates the affairs of the field and the production of food .

Difference between natural law and positive law

  natural law positive law
What is it It is a presupposed right, being superior to the State. It is defined and applied by the State.
Validity Universal, unchanging and timeless. It is valid for a certain time and has a territorial basis.
Basis In the fundamental principles, of an abstract order. It is based on the order and stability of society.
Character Informal. Formal.
Infractions The offender is not subject to legal sanction. Suffers legal sanction.
Example Right to freedom and equality. The Federal Constitution.

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