KINDS OF LAW- Salmond’s classification by CHARU V at LEXCLIQ

Law has different meanings but basically it is just a set of rules that helps to maintain harmony and social order in a jurisdiction. There are mainly 8 kinds of law and they are,

  • Imperative law
  • Physical law
  • Natural law
  • Customary law
  • Conventional law
  • Practical law
  • International law
  • Civil law

Now let’s know learn about these in detail.

Imperative law:

It is the rules of action imposed upon by some authority which enforces obedience to it. It is a command enforced by the sovereign or superior power either physically or in any other form of compulsion backed up by action. For example, Taxation.

Physical law:

It is also known as scientific law. These laws are expression of the uniformities of nature and general principles expressing the regularity and harmony observable in the activities and operations of universe. They are not the creation of men and cannot be changed by them either. Physical laws are invariable forever. For example, Newton’s law which is discovered by him and not invented.

Natural law:

These are the principles of natural right and wrong that is the principles of natural justice. This law is also called as divine law. These laws are based on religious and moral principles. This law doesn’t involve any restraint or physical force. Our own self is the sanction of Jus naturae.

Customary law:

Customary laws are those rules of custom that are habitually followed by the majority of people subject to them in the belief of binding nature. According to Salmond, customary law means any rule of action which is actually observed by men. When a custom is firmly established it is enforced by authority of state. Custom is not law by itself but an important source of law. For example, covering the head during worship in Sikh shrines; as it was habitually followed by people and not doing so will hurt the sentiment and belief of people.

Conventional law:

It is a body of rules agreed upon and followed by the concerned parties to regulate their mutual conduct. It is a form of special law and law for the parties that can be made valid and enforced through agreement. This law is divided into two types; First, rules enforced by parties themselves but not recognized by state. For example, Club rules, marriage rituals etc… Second, Rules that are recognized and enforced by the state. For example, Contract law.

Practical law:

It is also known as technical laws. It consists of principles or rules for the attainment of a certain end or result. For example, Law of health, law of music etc… These rules guide us as to what we ought to do in order to attain certain results/ solutions. They are very specific and gives practical output.

International laws:

According to Salmond, “it consists of those rules which the sovereign states have agreed to observe in their dealings with one another”. The agreements can be classified into two types,

Expressed agreements – contained in treaties and conventions

Implied agreements – found in the custom or practice of states

International law is of two types,

Public international law – Prevails universally all over the world

Private international law – Enforced only between some of the states. Example, UNO and trade relations.

Civil law:

It is known as the law of land which means the law as it exists. It is backed by the force of the state for purpose of enforcement. Salmond stated civil law as “the law of land or the law of the state, the law of the lawyers and law courts.” It is the law of the realm and is also named as municipal law or natural law.


Charu V (intern)

Lexis and company.



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