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Public Law

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The branch of Law is known under the name of public law that has the objective of regulating the links established between individuals and private entities with the bodies related to public power, provided that they act protected by their public powers legitimate and based on what the law establishes.

In other words, it can be presented to public law as the legal system that allows regulating the relations of subordination and supra-ordination between the State and individuals. In the case of links between state bodies, the relationships may be subordination, supra-ordination or coordination.

It's important to keep in mind that, in practice, there are no sharp divisions between the different branches of law, but that they all interrelate. However, it's possible to establish several differences between public law and private law.

The differences between public and private law aren't a matter debated only at this time that we have lived, but has been present in the judicial field for a long time. Thus, for example, we know that during the Enlightenment stage, in the 18th century, a clear separation was established between them while promoting the Right to Work on the occasion of the development of the Industrial Revolution.

In the nineteenth century, this clear separation was also continued. In this specific case, it's worth emphasizing the role played by the German jurist Rudolf von Ihering. What he did was to establish three clearly differentiated categories: the public law that had public property as its object of work, the private law that was responsible for regulating what is the property of individuals, and finally the collective right that had as owner of a property to the entire community of citizens.

Contemporary to this author, we also find another German jurist named Georg Jellinek who made an approach that settles to some extent the clear differentiation we have today of the two types of law. Thus, it determined that what separates these are the relations that govern them: of inequality in the case of public law because there is a subject that acts with power that would be the State, and of equality in matters of private law as both participating parties are They meet at the same level.

In the first of the mentioned branches, the norms are imperative; On the other hand, in private law, the rules are operative and act when there is no previous agreement or contract between the parties.

On the other hand, the most usual relationship in public law is one of inequality (public power is in a sovereign position, what is known as imperium ), while, in private law, relations are of equality.

Finally, it should be noted that, in public law, the rules seek to achieve a public interest. In private law, norms tend to favor people's particular interests.

Legal certainty in public law is given by the principle of legality, which implies that the exercise of powers must be based on legal norms determined by a competent body and by the matters that are under its jurisdiction.


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