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in bourgeois legal theory, norms that establish the structure of state agencies and the manner in which they act and that also regulate relations between citizens and agencies of the state. Although bourgeois jurists assert that public law protects the interests of all members of society, they oppose public law to private law, the latter supposedly defending the interests of private individuals. The division of law into public and private is also based on a difference in the methods by which the interests of authorized persons are protected: in public law these interests are defended at the initiative of the state agency, regardless of the victim’s desire.
The division of law into public and private was first made by Roman jurists and later elaborated by bourgeois jurisprudence. This division reflects the antagonistic contradictions between the interests of society and those of the individual, contradictions generated by capitalist private ownership. The sphere of public law includes state, administrative, financial, criminal, and procedural law, that is, those branches of law whose purpose is to protect the interests of the bourgeois class as a whole. Socialist law is not divided into public and private.