Sources of law


Law is a very broad science that also includes a great variety of norms and principles used by a society to control everything related to its social life, with the aim of achieving order, equity and justice. For them, it is based on a series of important aspects, one of them being the sources of law, which are basically the origin of rights.

What are the sources of law?

The sources of law are the totality of the facts and acts that are part of the past and that have been the basis for the creation , for the ordering and for the regulation of individuals since time immemorial.

  • Definition of sources of law
  • Characteristics
  • Source
  • What are they for
  • Which are
  • Classification
  • Sources of labor law
  • Sources of tax law
  • Sources of international law
  • Sources of law by country
  • Importance
  • Examples

Definition of sources of law

Sources of the right are all the events , situations , traditions , events and acts that happened in the past that have served to create , change or even remove the legal norms , in other words the law. This definition can also be applied in the case of people or groups who are responsible for creating laws and people who were part of the historic constitution of Law.



Some of its most notable features are mentioned below.

  • They can be found in the Constitutions , in laws and regulations .
  • They are based on acts that happened in the past .
  • From them are born the natural sources or of material sense .
  • They refer to those in charge of doing the law .


The origin of the sources of law have their origin millions of years ago, practically since the human being understood the notion of the word justice and they have been changing with the passage of time. After his birth, they were based on three important antecedents . The first of them was natural law , through which it was shown that morality and justice are inalienable rights for human beings. In second place we find the written law that involved a series of documents in charge of establishing rules related to conduct that were also mandatory and finally the Anglo-Saxon law , also known as “ common law ”, which is based on jurisprudence .

What are they for

The sources of law have several uses. One of them is within the field of jurisprudence because in them it is possible to find a series of examples on which the law can be based in order to make a decision. In addition, they are used to create all the regulations that citizens and even States must follow.

Which are

The sources of law are formal , material or real and historical sources .


Formal sources can be classified as follows:

  • Formal sources : in this group are all the texts or documents in which the laws are written and everything related to them. In this group you can also find jurisprudence and customs , in other words, all the creation of laws, their scope and their functions. This group in turn can be classified into several groups:
  • Legislation : is the creation and promulgation of legal regulations that can be applied and organized following a hierarchical order which are created and promulgated by the political powers. They are written in legislative texts such as, for example, in the Political Constitution of a country.
  • Customs : this is the oldest type of fountain that exists and has a cultural character. It includes the legally obligatory behaviors that are applied in a certain place in a general way .
  • Jurisprudence : interprets the laws that the judges impose when the primary laws fail to clearly resolve the issues that are discussed. This type of source is established by the Supreme Court and is also known as indirect sources.
  • Doctrine : includes a group of interpretations made by jurists with respect to the laws with the aim of being able to theoretically clarify the interpretations of a certain norm.
  • Material sources : they are also known by the name of real sources and are related to the social reality that a country has in order to be able to determine what will be the content of a law that also has a legal character . They are created thanks to authorized bodies, such as the parliaments of the countries. For its formulation, important aspects related to the history, religion, culture, nature and geography of a certain region must be taken.
  • Historical sources : are all those documents that may or may not have a legal character that establishes the way in which ancient peoples established the norms , which in turn, are an example for the formulation of new laws.

The sources of law can also be classified depending on the hierarchy , in other words, the way in which the laws can interact with each other within a totally legal framework depending on their rank and importance, in such a way that we can find:

  • The constitution
  • International deals
  • Jurisprudence
  • Custom
  • Formal laws

Sources of labor law

The sources that make up the labor law are mentioned below.

  • Community regulation whose function is to divide the original right of the derivative.
  • Constitution of Spain : where you can find several principles and rights of work with a constitutional rank.
  • International regulations : in this source we find the international treaties that guarantee the minimum rights of workers when they decide to assume a certain position.
  • Regulations and laws : include various types of laws such as ordinary, organic and legislative decrees.
  • Collective type agreements : they are based on agreements made by the representatives of the companies and those of the employees in order to obtain a negotiation.
  • Labor custom .

Sources of tax law

The sources of tax law are the following:

  • Constitutional provisions
  • International treaties or international conventions
  • Tax laws
  • Regulations

Sources of international law

Sources of international law are listed below.

  • The international custom
  • The bilateral or multilateral
  • General principles of law
  • Jurisprudence
  • Doctrine

Sources of law by country


In Spain, the sources of law are custom , law and all general principles of law , which are part of the legal system and are also established in article 1.1 of the country’s Civil Code.


In this country, all legal texts including jurisprudence are considered as sources of law . Sources such as doctrine , general principles of law and legislation are also taken into account .


In Colombia, the sources of law follow an order, firstly there is the Political Constitution , then the law of the country that is exercised by the judges, international treaties that include decrees, ordinances and legal acts , jurisprudence or sentences, the custom mainly in commercial matters, the general principles of law and finally, the doctrine.


In Argentina, the country’s main source of law is the law that gives judges the ability to judge by following current laws. In addition, the country also includes contracts and the law as sources .


In this country, the sources of law are based on the Germanic , Romanesque and canonical tradition . It is also established in the Political Constitution , in the regulations of Congress and in the Laws of the Republic .


Thanks to the sources of law it is possible to understand where the laws that currently govern the countries come from as well as all the processes and factors that are taken into account for their correct elaboration. It makes it possible for human beings to formulate norms taking into account the political , social and economic system .


Some examples of sources of law are the following:

  • The Political Constitution of the countries.
  • The laws and regulations established in a certain country.
  • The decisions taken by the judges in court.

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