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LAW277/ERNIE MELINI/LECTURE 1

INTRODUCTION TO THE MALAYSIAN LEGAL SYSTEM


What is LAW?

Body of rules which are enforced by the state or country.

Oxford dictionary: ...the body of enacted or customary rules recognized by a


community as binding.

Federal Constitution: Article 160 (2), defined as Existing Law and Federal Law.

Aim: to attain justice in society.

Definitions of Law based on Jurists

Natural Law
It is a theory that posits the existence of a law whose content is set by nature and
that therefore has validity everywhere. Any man-made law which is in conflict with
natural law is not a true law.

Positive Law
It is a strict man-made law where the ruler who made the law can give penalties if
the rules are broken.

Realist Law
The essential tenet of legal realism is that all law is made by human beings and,
thus, is subject to human foibles, frailties and imperfections. It is a rule of conduct
laid down by the persons acting as judicial organ of the states. Therefore, law is
what the judges declared. It is carried out and enforced rather than law as series
of rules contained in the statutes.

Sociological Law
Sociology of law is a diverse field of study which examines the interaction of law
with other aspects of society, such as the effect of legal institutions, doctrines,
and practices on other social phenomena and vice versa. This law takes into
account the social development of legal institutions, the social construction of
legal issues, and the relation of law to social change.

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LAW277/ERNIE MELINI/LECTURE 1

CLASSIFICATION OF LAW

PUBLIC LAW
It is a theory of law
governing the
relationship between
individuals and the
state.

Constitutional Law is the


law that deals with
relationship between the
state and individual and
the relationship between
different branches of state
e.g. executive, legislative
and judiciary

Criminal Law is the law


that involves state
imposing sanction for a
defined crime committed
by individual so that the
society can achieve justice
and peace.

PRIVATE LAW
It is a theory of law
governing the
relationship between
individuals

Law of Tort is a body of


rights, obligations, and
remedies that is applied by
courts in civil proceedings
to provide relief for
persons who have suffered
harm from the wrongful
acts of others.

Contract Law is the law


that governs an agreement
with specific terms
between two or more
persons or entities in
which there is a promise to
do something in return for
a valuable benefit.

INTERNATIONAL
LAW
It is a term commonly
used for referring to
the laws that govern
one particular
independent country.

International
Public Law is
the law that
governs the
relationship
between
provinces
and
international
entities e.g.
law of seas,
treaties.
International
Private Law is
the law that
deals with
conflict of
laws e.g.
which law to
use and
which court
of a country
the case to
be heard.

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