What is the difference between Substantive Law and Adjective Law?

This article describes 9 differences between Substantive Law and Adjective Law.

Substantive Law

  1. Substantive law deals with the ends which the administration of justice seeks.
  2. It relates and determines “matters” litigated.
  3. It regulates the “affairs” controlled by procedural “law”.
  4. It determines “what facts constitute a wrong”.
  5. It relates with “subject-matter”.
  6. It is concerned whether the offence is punishable with imprisonment or fine.
  7. It mainly relates the matters outside the courts. It is the instrument of the society.
  8. It defines rights.
  9. Abolition of capital punishment comes under “substantive law”.
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Adjective Law

  1. Adjective law is concerned with the means and instruments by which those ends can be achieved.
  2. It relates with the “conduct” and “relations between courts and litigants”.
  3. It regulates “the conduct of affairs in the course of administration of justice”.
  4. “How the wrong is proved in the courts” is the function of adjective law.
  5. It relates with “procedure and process” of the law.
  6. In criminal law, it is concerned how the offender is punished, i.e. whether by warrant trail or summary trail or summons trail. In civil law, it tries the civil suits, and protects the rights of the aggrieved parties, and also provides remedies.
  7. It relates the matters within courts. Adjective law is the instrument of courts.
  8. It defines the remedies.
  9. Abolition of imprisonment on an insolvent comes under “procedural law”.
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