General principles of law

In general terms we can refer to the law as a kind of system of such legal whose main function regular all relationships established within a nation or a state. In the field of legal matters , the general principles of law are a type of directive ideology , which will be the basis and foundation of all the laws of a country.

What are the general principles of law?

The general principles of the law are a number of statements of such policy as part of the law of a State and serve as a basis for establishing the organization of a country.

  • Definition
  • Characteristics
  • What are they for
  • How they are classified
  • What are the general principles of international law
  • What are the general principles of labor law
  • What are the general principles of administrative law
  • What are the general principles of law by country
  • Examples


The general principles of law are a group of ideas that are related to the different norms and the legal system of a country, from an ethical point of view . They are the sources of law and its main function is to indicate the way in which to act in certain specific situations.


The main attributes that can be found in the general principles of law are the following:

  • They fulfill a descriptive type function .
  • Not with explicit type rules .
  • They can be known through reasoning .
  • His main priority is to make the inhabitants of a place fulfill their duties as citizens.
  • They express a judgment type of conduct .
  • They express the duties related to the conduct of individuals.
  • They are general rules .

What are they for

The general principles of law fulfill a series of functions which are intertwined with each other in order to correctly integrate legal formulations . They then serve to provide solidity and confirmation to the law, promote the rules that have been established in the law, improving their efficiency and their application, and also complement positive law with the creation of new rules for conflict resolution. They are the basis on which positive ordering is founded.

How they are classified

The principles are divided into two different classifications which are:

  • Positive law : it is the set of rules that have been previously approved following the legislative process established in each State where they are applied, resulting in written rules. All the general principles found in this group are principles enshrined within the State Constitution.
  • Natural law : they are the set of norms that have not yet been approved by parliaments and cannot be found in writing either, but rather they are fundamental ideas that have an ethical and moral character.

What are the general principles of international law

The general principles are as follows:

  • The states in their international relations must to refrain from threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State.
  • States must settle their international problems using means peaceful avoiding endangering peace, the security and justice .
  • There is no obligation not to intervene in matters that are part of the internal jurisdiction of the States.
  • States must cooperate with each other .
  • The principle of rights and self-determination in the peoples must be established.
  • There must be the principle of sovereign equality in the States.
  • The States must comply in good faith with all the obligations that have been previously contracted .

What are the general principles of labor law

The principles of labor law are as follows:

  • Principle of protection to avoid abuses by the employer on the worker.
  • Principle of inalienability that establishes that any contract that affects the rights of the worker will be void.
  • Principle of continuity of employment relationship that establishes that, if there are doubts regarding the continuation or termination of a certain employment contract, it will opt for continuity.
  • Principle of primacy of reality that seeks to establish the true relationship that exists between the parties.
  • Principle of good faith in employment contracts and in the execution of the same by both parties.
  • Principle of social justice which imposes on the worker and the employer the rights and duties that must be fulfilled.
  • Equity principle with which a judge can make decisions about a certain situation considering what is fair.
  • Principle of prohibition to discriminate between employees, whether based on ethnicity, sex, health, religion or political ideas.

What are the general principles of administrative law

The general principles of administrative law are mentioned below.

  • Principle of real truth which implies the existence of a mandate to the judging authority to obtain the veracity about the facts that are indicated in a debate.
  • Principle of officiality that gives the administrative authority the right to direct the procedure and order the practice when it is necessary to clarify the issues that have been raised.
  • Informalism principle which is interpreted in favor of the managed.
  • Principle of freedom of proof in order to be able to reach the real truth.
  • Principle of appreciation of the evidence in accordance with sound criticism.

What are the general principles of law by country


In Spain , the general principles of law are established by means of article 1.1 of the Political Constitution that classifies them as sources of legal order . It establishes that these principles will be applied by default of law or custom, without prejudice to order.


They are established in article 16 of the country’s Civil Code and are used to resolve civil problems when there are no written rules.


They are the source of all branches of law in the country and are recognized by the Mexican Legal System . They are a series of criteria of reason that can express a judgment regarding the conduct of the individual on certain occasions. They are found in article 14 of the Federal Constitution, in article 19 of the Federal Civil Code and in the Federal Law in article number 17.


In Colombia they are established in the Political Constitution of Colombia in article 230 . It states that general principles of law can be used when the law is insufficient.


Some examples of general principles of law are listed below.

  • Principle of legality : for example, a family files a complaint because their neighbors make too much noise late at night, if this conduct is not classified as a crime , then the authority will not be able to do anything about it.
  • Principle of presumption of innocence : when a person is accused of theft, he or she will be considered innocent until the prosecution can determine and prove that he or she actually committed a crime.
  • Principle of enrichment without cause : a person cannot take ownership of a property if he has done so by means of a scam, usurpation or because he invaded the place.

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