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Introduction to Zimbabwean Law: With the aid of examples, explain the meaning and purpose of law

According to the dictionary, law is the body of rules and standards issued by the government or to be applied by the courts and other similar authorities. According to professor Madhuku, law are rules and regulations that are enforced by the state through sanctions and provide for punishment or compensation in the event of breach. It is also used to enforce morality.

Law is divided into two divisions which are substantive law and procedural law. There are also main sources of law which are common law, legislation la, customary law, authoritative texts, international and precedent. It also have branches which are international law, national law, procedural law, substantive law, private law, public law, criminal law and civil law. The main purposes of law and its functions is to do justice, to enforce morality, to preserve peace and order, and to protect the interest of the ruling class. Substantive law is the actual law. It deals with protecting the interest of the public. Legislation law falls under this division of law. It deals with legal right against any infringement. In Zimbabwe, the legislation authority is defined in section 32(1) of the constitution that is, the legislation in Zimbabwe shall-vest in legislature which shall consist of the president and parliament. Legislation is also referred to as statutory law and covers those rules of law made directly by the legislative.

Procedural law is the manner of enforcing law. It is the part of the law that regulate the enforcement of substantive law, it therefore comprises the rules by which the court hears and determines what happens in civil, criminal and administrative proceedings. It also determines the manner in which a case must be handled when a legal rule has been violated, for example it will provide the process according to which someone is prosecuted for murder or any other offense. Procedural law deals with the standardization of how cases are brought to court, parties are informed, evidence is presented and how facts are determined to maximize fairness of any proceeding. The difference between procedural law and substantive law is that procedural law provides the process that a case will go through, whilst substantive law defines how the facts in the case will be handled, as well as how the crime is to be charged. In short, it deals with the substance of the mater.

Branches of Law: International law is the law governing legal relations which transcend national territorial boundaries. It consists of rules that govern the relationship between independent states for example between Zimbabwe and Britain. In international law, there are public subjects that are state, international organizations like UN, SADC and EU, and private subjects like all companies including multi-national companies. National law is also known as municipal law and it is applicable in a particular country, for example, Zambia, Malawi or Zimbabwe. It is divided into public national law and private national law. Public national law governs relations of national public nature and it is divided into constitutional, criminal and administrative law. Private national law involves enforcement of private or civil rights of persons. It is divided into law of persons, law of things and mercantile law. The difference between international law and national law is that national law is applicable to a defined territory or state whilst international law govern legal relations beyond national territorial boundaries. International law also govern private international or conflict of laws and public international law, whilst national law govern relations of national public nature under public law and also involves the enforcement of private or civil rights of persons.


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