Providing an enforceable way to settle disputes if

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Providing an enforceable way to settle disputes if they do arise; Providing a defined legal process to ensure that settlement of disputes occurs in an orderly, impartial and fair way; Providing a means of obtaining compensation for personal, economic or other loss damage or injury where it was caused by someone else; Providing a means whereby law can change to reflect changes in society’s needs. In summary, the law provides a means whereby the problems that arise everyday between individuals, groups of people, business organisations and government and other bodies can be resolved. It can be reactive (so the law develops and is put in place after the problems becomes apparent, and in an attempt to prevent similar occurrences thereafter—the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the United States that was put in place to resolve some of the auditing problems identified in a number of high profile corporate collapses referred to above is a good example of such a law). Alternatively, it can be proactive (so laws are enacted to cover possible problems before they occur—as is the case with some of the laws currently being considered around the world to deal with developments in gene technology or developments in electronic commerce). 10
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CO5119:03 Business Law SUBJECT MATERIALS >> SCHOOL OF LAW JAMES COOK UNIVERSITY 1.4 Branches of Law 1.4.1 Generally Law deals with a huge range of activities and this has led to the development of many specialised ‘branches’ of law. They include: (a) Private international law (sometimes called ‘conflict of laws’) (b) Criminal law (c) Torts (laws of civil wrongs) (d) Contract law (e) Constitutional law (f) Administrative law (g) Industrial law (laws of employment and working conditions) (h) Consumer protection law (i) Company law (j) Intellectual property law (laws protecting commercial use of ideas and inventions) (k) Taxation law This is not a complete list of all possible branches of law but it does give you some idea of the scope of the activities that are governed by legal rules. All of the topics listed are relevant to business, and there are many others. Many branches of law are dealt with later in this subject but at this point it is appropriate that we consider the difference between national and international law. 1.4.2 National and International Law The essential difference is that national laws are intended to govern the legal relationships between people and other legal entities in a particular country whereas international law is intended to govern the relationships between countries or between people and entities in different countries. National laws are developed by the people and governments in the country in which they apply. On the other hand there is no ‘world congress’ or ‘world court’ that has the power and authority to develop law that it can then apply to (and enforce against) all of the people in the world. International law therefore gains its enforceability by being recognised by, and then by being enforced by, national governments and national courts.
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