Public law

Public law is the branch of law whose main purpose is to regulate and supervise the different links established between individuals and private institutions that are related to public power, as long as these sectors are protected by public powers of a legitimate nature and following the statutes of the law. It is a group of norms whose function is to regulate all those activities carried out by the State with respect to its sovereign functions and their relations with the inhabitants. In it, it is the State that has privilege over other persons or institutions.

What is public law?

Public law is the legal order that allows to have adequate relations of subordination, cooperation and ordering between the State and the people who inhabit a determined place by regulating the exercise of the sovereign functions of public power.

About public law

Public law consists of drawing up a set of general conditions based on freedom and security, which allows the inhabitants or groups of a society to acquire a particular set of interests through the State. It regulates the correct exercise of the powers that make up the State, always seeking different collective or common interests.


Its main characteristics are the following:

Legal nature

Public law and its legal nature can be defined as a set of rules that regulate legally the organization and proper functioning of the state, as well as the relations between citizens and state. It is the legal norms of the state’ s own organization and all its functions.


The law began in Rome, and was based on the phrase “Publicum ius est quod ad statum rei romanae spectat“, which means that public law is the one that deals with Roman government, and was divided into three different types:

Public law basically referred to government, organization and State functions, and relations with individuals and other States. The rules that formed part of this right could not be modified by agreement between individuals. The organs belonging to the state were in charge to express people’ will, at that time, Roman people.


Public law originated in Rome and its development has been classified into different periods ranging from the founding of Roman Empire to the establishment of Justinian Empire. In each of these periods, we can find particular characteristics that distinguish them. There were four phases in public law history:


The branches of public law are:

Sources or principles of public law

These sources depend on each State, however, there are sources that are applicable everywhere to maintain the legal order and these are:


Its purpose is to maintain order and regulate the different links between individuals and the State, by regulating the relationships of subordination and ordering that occur between the States and individuals in a society.

Importance of public law

Public law is important because of the unequal relationship between the government and people. The government is the only body that can make decisions about people’s rights and people must act within the law. Thanks to public law, a person can apply for judicial review if he or she is not satisfied with the decision of an authorized body. It is important because it defends people when there are unbalanced relationships between the individual and the state, or the bodies that represent it.


Some examples that observed daily in our society involving public law are:

Written by Gabriela Briceño V.

How to cite this article?

Briceño V., Gabriela. (2019). Public law. Recovered on 24 February, 2024, de Euston96:

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