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Types of Statutes (Part 1)

22/3/18 Types of Statutes (Part 1)


Statutes are of several kinds;

Namely, public or private

  1. Public statutes are those of which the judges will take notice without pleading; those which concern all officers in general; acts concerning trade in general or any specific trade; acts concerning all persons generally.
  2. Private acts are those of which the judges will not take notice without pleading; such as concern only a particular species, or person; as, acts relating to any particular place, or to several particular places, or to one or several particular counties. Private statutes may be rendered public by being so declared by the legislature.

Declaratory or remedial

  1. A declaratory statute is one which is passed in order to put an end to a doubt as to what the common law is, and which declares what it is, and has ever been.
  2. Remedial statutes are those which are made to supply such defects and abridge such superfluities in the common law as may have been discovered. These remedial statutes are themselves divided into enlarging statutes, by which the common law is made more comprehensive and extended than it was before; and into restraining statutes, by which it is narrowed down to that which is just and proper. The term remedial statute is also applied to those acts which give the party injured a remedy, and in some respects those statutes are penal.

Temporary or perpetual

  1. A temporary statute is one which is limited in its duration at the time of its enactment. It continues in force until the time of its limitation has expired, unless sooner repealed.
  2. A perpetual statute is one for the continuance of which there is no limited time, although it be not expressly declared to be so. If, however, a statute which did not itself contain any limitation, is to be governed by another which is temporary only, the former will also be temporary and dependent upon the existence of the latter.

Affirmative or negative

  1. An affirmative statute is one which is enacted in affirmative terms; such a statute does not take away the common law. If, for example, a statute without negative words, declares that when certain requisites shall have been complied with, deeds shall, have in evidence a certain effect, this does not prevent their being used in evidence, though the requisites have not been complied with, in the same manner as they might have been before the statute was passed.
  2. A negative statute is one expressed in negative terms, and so controls the common law, that it has no force in opposition to the statute. Penal statutes are those which order or prohibit a thing under a certain penalty.

In our next e-Legal Lessons we will complete the classification of statutes. Don’t miss it!


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