What is Substantive and Procedural Law? Substantive Law vs Procedural Law

What is Substantive and Procedural Law? Substantive Law vs Procedural Law


In the world, every society has some rules to regulate human conduct. There is no society without any rules. These rules are the Laws. Law is a binding rule or practice of a community or rule of conduct or action prescribed as binding or enforced by a controlling authority or government to protect the fundamental rights of the individuals of the society or state. Non-compliance or breaking the law can result in penalties such as imprisonment or fines. Laws are divided into two categories: Procedural law and Substantive law. Procedural law governs the functioning of a specific case by following the step-by-step procedure that the case follows.

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Conversely, Substantive law can be defined as one that consists of statutory rules passed by the legislature through a process of enactment regulating the conduct of individuals. It deals with the definitions and facts of the crime, law, wrong, etc.

Let’s see the difference between procedural law and substantive law and what is substantive law and procedural law.

What is Substantive Law:-

The substantive law governs how each case’s facts are handled, as well as how each case is punished or compensated. From the writings of various professional texts, it can be concluded that substantive law deals with the subjects (individuals) or the legal relations between the subject and the state. Substantive Law is a statutory law that defines and sets out the rights and obligations of citizens protected by law; defines an offence or wrong, as well as their remedies; and determines the facts that make up the wrong – i.e. the subject of litigation in the administration of justice. The Substantive Law specifies the terms “remedy” and “right”; it encompasses all types of public and private law, as well as basic civil and criminal law.  The substantive law is considered the main law, whereas the procedural law is considered subsidiary law.

Substantive law basically follows from the principles found in Common, statutory, constitution, and judicial decisions, legal precedent for cases having similar facts and situations. With the passage of time and the creation of new statutes, there has been an increase in the amount of Substantive law.

For example- Penal law, the Law of Contract, the Law of Property, Specific Relief Act, etc. are Substantive laws.

What is Procedural Law:-

The enforcement of the law that is guided and regulated by practice, process, and machinery is known as procedural law (or adjective law). This statute is vital to the administration of justice. Procedural law is the vehicle through which society achieves its fundamental purposes. Procedural law is derived from constitutional law, legislation enacted by the legislature, law enforcement agencies enforcing written rules for their employees, which may not have legal force but may result in internal sanctions if they are broken; and the Supreme Court’s rules and procedural guidelines.

Procedural law is the body of law that establishes the procedures for enforcing rights or seeking redress for their infringement, as well as the equipment for carrying out a lawsuit.

The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908; Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; Indian Evidence Act, 1872; Limitation Act, 1963; The Court Fees Act 1870; The Suits Valuation Act, 1887 are examples of Procedural Law in India.


The right to recover specific property is a matter of substantive law (since determining and protecting such rights is one of the goals of the administration of justice), but where and when a person can file a lawsuit is a matter of procedural law (for they relate merely to the modes in which the courts fulfill their functions).

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