Subject of Law
Subject of Law
a person—physical or juridical—who in law has the capacity to realize rights and juridical duties.
The subject of law is a necessary element of legal relations in all branches of the law, although its status is specific in each such branch. In civil legal relations, citizens are physical persons, and state organs and public organizations are juridical persons. In administrative legal relations, the subjects of law are state organs, officials, and citizens. In recognizing the citizen as a subject of law, the state defines his legal status, which describes his relation to the state, the organs of the state, and other persons.
The concept of subject of law varies from one socioeconomic formation to another. In slaveholding law, only free persons were considered subjects of law, and the extent of their rights depended on citizenship, sex, and social position. Feudal law distinguished between subjects of law according to social estate (soslovie). Bourgeois law declared the formal equality of all citizens, thus masking the de facto inequality stemming from economic inequality. In the socialist countries, all citizens are equal subjects of law, irrespective of sex, race and nationality, social origin, and property ownership.
The legal status of citizens of the USSR embraces the fundamental rights, freedoms, and duties defined in the Constitution of the USSR. The legal status of state organs and public organizations as subjects of law is defined in the USSR by their charters and statutes to the extent necessary for the fulfillment of their tasks. The Soviet state is a subject of federal legal relations, of the law of state ownership of land, factories, railroads, and other such properties, and of the legal relations with respect to the budget and state loans; it is also a subject of law in relations with citizens with respect to their constitutional rights and duties.
In international law, states and several international organizations are subjects of law.