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1. Law – notion, system, branches

  1. What is law?

Law is defined as “a body of rules of conduct of binding legal force and effect, prescribed, recognised, and enforced by controlling authority”


The law is a system of legal norms regulating public relations, the implementation of which is guaranteed by the state.

For easy understanding you can make association with computers and imagine that law is the software and all the people who should obey it are the hardware.

There are many definitions of what is law but all of them agree that law is:

  • a system of legal rules (these rules are issued by the state)
  • there rules regulate the relationships between the state and the people, the people in-between, and the states in between
  • non-compliance or breach of legal norms is compounded by legal consequences (sanction, state coercion)

How can we make difference between law, religion and moral rules?

First, all of them are some sort of rules, but while law is a system of rules, religion and moral rules cannot be described as system but rather as group of rules. The latter two have no systematic structure.

Second, law regulates all kinds of relations – public, private, international, while religion deals mainly with private relations and with relation between people in their everyday life, moral rules also apply mainly in everyday life, but also between traders.

Third and most important difference is that law is backed up with sanction in case of non-compliance or breach of legal norms, while religion leaves this to God, and moral rules rely on the society’s discontent. Since ancient times, people have understood that God and society can not always give justice (many breaches of rules remain without sanction), so they have come to the idea of the legal norms being protected by the state.


2. System of Law

As you will see below legal rules do not exist in the legal reality chaotically, but are organised and follow a strict system.  Bulgarian system of law (as most systems of law in Europe) consists of legal norms that are divided into two groups (public law and private law)  and each group consists of several branches. 

  • Public law branches – Constitutional, Administrative, Financial, Criminal, Tax law,  International public law
  • Private law branches – Civil law, Commercial law, Family Law, Labour law, Private international law.

Roman jurist Ulpian: “Public law is that, which concerns Roman state, private law is concerned with the interests of citizens.”

Public law norms regulate the social relations the government between and individuals, by a method of subordination. Private law norms regulate the social relations by a method of coordination. Differences between both methods; examples; 

Branches differ on the basis of the type of social relations, regulated by the legal norms (subject matter).


Commercial law – regulates social relations of traders, trade deals, bancruptcy etc.

Property law is the area of law that governs the various forms of ownership and tenancy in real property (land as distinct from personal or movable possessions) and in personal property, within the common law legal system. 

Tax law – regulates  social relations regarding public duties – taxes, persons, who are obligated to pay taxes, Bulgarian state taxes are administered by the National Revenue Agency (NRA). The National Assembly has the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises. The municipal council shall determine the rate of local taxes.The National Revenue Agency is the main governmental body in Bulgaria responsible for tax collection.

Labour law or employment lawmediates the relationship between workers (employees), employers, trade unions and the government.

Branches, divide into sub-branches, for instance Civil law includes the following sub-branches : General part, Property Law, Obligation Law, Inheritance law, Intellectual Law. Sub-branches are divided into institutes. Latter are defined as established law or practice. The Bulgarian definition for institute is the smallest set of legal norms within the hierarchy of the normative existence of law, a set of positive laws regulating a certain type of public relations (for instance marriage is and institute of family law, copyright is an institute of intellectual property law).

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