Private Law

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Private Law


in the bourgeois theory of law, the norms regulating certain relations, including property relations, between private individuals and also governing relations in which the state and its agencies act not as bearers of public authority but as parties to contractual relations. Private law includes the norms of civil, commercial, and family law.

Whereas public law governs relationships of authority and subordination, private law deals with the relations of formally equal persons. Its subjects enjoy considerable economic and legal autonomy, and the protection of private interests is exercised only on the initiative of the interested persons themselves.

Bourgeois jurists treat private law as “a manifestation of the freedom of the individual” and of purportedly equal possibilities for all. The division of law into private and public, however, reflects the conflict between private and public interests in societies that are marked by antagonism among classes. As K. Marx and F. Engels noted, “Private law develops simultaneously with private property out of the disintegration of the natural community” (Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 3, p. 63). Private law is based on the law of private property, which evolved under Roman law and is fully developed and protected by capitalism; under capitalism the law of private property is declared to be “holy and inviolable.”

In the modern era, the development of state monopoly capitalism and the increasing interference of the bourgeois state in the capitalist economy have led to a blurring of the sharp distinction between public and private law as private law is “made public.”

The socialist legal system does not distinguish between public and private law.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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