Types of Law

There are so many different types of law in the United States that it would be difficult to come up with a definitive number without a more qualifying question. 

Different kinds of law fall under different branches, as do the kind of law that lawyers practice. Each branch of law deals with different aspects of government and the governing of society. Laws in the US are typically structured at the federal, state and local government levels, as well as, we have laws that deal with international business and other international matters. Within each of these branches of government, there are different branches of law.

Branches of Law

While this is not an exact number, there are over 20 branches of law and within these branches, there are many different specialty areas of law. Most lawyers specialize in one or a few different areas of a particular branch of law. The following branches are some of the more common branches:

  • Administration Law
  • Air Law
  • Aviation Law
  • Bankruptcy Law
  • Business Law
  • Civil Law
  • Constitutional Law
  • Corporate Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Defamation Law
  • Entertainment Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Excise Law
  • Family Law
  • Health Law
  • Immigration Law
  • Income Tax Law
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • International Law
  • Labor and Employment Law
  • Law of Torts
  • Limitation and Arbitration Law
  • Marine Law
  • Minor Law
  • Press Law
  • Property Law
  • Public International Law
  • Real Estate Law
  • Sales of Good Law
  • Tax Law

Civil Law

Civil law is a very large branch of law that encompasses many types of law and legal matters. It is the system of law concerned with private relations between members of a community, rather than criminal, military or religious affairs. Civil law or civil procedure governs judicial proceedings involving lawsuits between private parties. In this sense, a private party can in fact be a public entity or agency but a civil lawsuit is considered a private matter.  An example of this is a private citizen can sue a police officer or department in a civil lawsuit. As well, a police officer or department can also make a claim against a private citizen in a civil lawsuit. 

Personal Injury

One of the more common civil law claims are personal injury claims. A personal injury claim may be made when one party’s (or more than one party’s) negligence, malice or recklessness, causes another party to be injured or become unwell. When this happens, the victim may be able to seek monetary compensation for expenses related to their injury or illness, as well as for their pain and suffering. In the event that a family member dies as the result of this, their surviving family members may be entitled to compensation for similar reasons.  

Criminal Law

Criminal law is also a large branch of law in the United States. It is a system of law concerned with the punishment of those who commit crimes. Unlike civil law, only the government can charge and convict someone of a crime. Crimes are typically punishable with fines, jail time and/or other restrictions. A private citizen can sue a criminal for the damages their crime caused them (such as in a personal injury lawsuit) but private citizens cannot take others to criminal court. 

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