Substantive Law


Also found in: Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

Substantive Law

The part of the law that creates, defines, and regulates rights, including, for example, the law of contracts, torts, wills, and real property; the essential substance of rights under law.

Substantive law and procedural law are the two main categories within the law. Substantive law refers to the body of rules that determine the rights and obligations of individuals and collective bodies. Procedural law is the body of legal rules that govern the process for determining the rights of parties.

Substantive law refers to all categories of public and private law, including the law of contracts, real property, torts, and Criminal Law. For example, criminal law defines certain behavior as illegal and lists the elements the government must prove to convict a person of a crime. In contrast, the rights of an accused person that are guaranteed by the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution are part of a body of criminal procedural law.

U.S. substantive law comes from the Common Law and from legislative statutes. Until the twentieth century, most substantive law was derived from principles found in judicial decisions. The common-law tradition built upon prior decisions and applied legal precedents to cases with similar fact situations. This tradition was essentially conservative, as the substance of law in a particular area changed little over time.

Substantive law has increased in volume and changed rapidly in the twentieth century as Congress and state legislatures have enacted statutes that displace many common-law principles. In addition, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and the American Law Institute have proposed numerous model codes and laws for states to adopt. For example, these two groups drafted the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), which governs commercial transactions. The UCC has been adopted in whole or substantially by all states, replacing the common law and divergent state laws as the authoritative source of substantive Commercial Law.

Cross-references

Model Acts; Uniform Acts.

substantive law

n. law which establishes principles and creates and defines rights limitations under which society is governed, as differentiated from "procedural law," which sets the rules and methods employed to obtain one's rights and, in particular, how the courts are conducted. (See: procedure)

References in periodicals archive ?
the Erosion of Substantive Law Are Likely Here To Stay
Audit, the application of substantive law and the organization of the Vaud cantonal AVS compensation fund and fund of the Cantonal Vaudoise, family allowances and other tasks managed by these Institutions.
In Nigeria today, there is no substantive law approving Islamic banking but the management of the Central Bank of Nigeria has taken advantage of the aspect of banks and other financial institutions Act 1991 that allows the CBN to make regulations for smooth running of banking and finance in the country.
Wolff, an international business attorney, introduces the law and practice of cross-border business transactions from the perspective of private business entities and their advisors, covering the general background and specific issues of non-investment and investment-related cross-border business transactions, including substantive law issues and procedural themes and skills-related aspects.
federal substantive law, provided they have appropriate jurisdiction.
13) Like any other procedural rule, Rule 23 was distinctly subordinate to the substantive law, and whatever good it might accomplish could not justify extreme distortions to procedural normalcy.
Even such seemingly "trans-substantive" requirements as adequacy of representation can be implemented only by reference to substantive law.
What gives substantive law much of its power to build legitimacy is its ability to connect the government to prevailing social norms.
Through the learned attorney general for Pakistan we communicate to all concerned that if they are required to cause arrest or detention of any person, to be found involved in an offence against the state or nation or in violation of any substantive law, he should be dealt with in accordance with relevant provisions of the law, and no permission can be given for illegal detention of anyone because we have to strictly follow the rule of law and the constitution," the court said.
If you are serving on a substantive law committee and wish to continue to do so, you must complete and return the committee preference form by January 13, 2012, to be considered for reappointment.
Goodell: New Jersey, in December 2010, became the ninth state to pass a substantive law.
Criminal procedural law is the set of guidelines and requirements we follow as decisions are made concerning those who are alleged to have broken the substantive law.