July 31, 2021

Legal Rights: Nature, Characteristics, Kinds

What are legal rights?

The term right is defined as any action of a person that a law permits. Legal rights are the rights that are given to the citizens of a country by the government to enjoy certain freedoms. These rights affect every citizen. There is no remedy for the infringement of these except for the law itself. Legal rights can be differentiated from moral rights or natural rights or even fundamental rights. E.g. Right to vote, right to sue.

Essentials of a legal right:

  • A person must be an owner of a right
  • A legal right accurse against another person or persons under a corresponding duty to respect that right.
  • Content or substance
  • The object of the right
  • Title of the right

Nature and Characteristic of Legal Rights:

1. Legal rights exist only in society– these rights are the consequence of humans being a social animal.

2. Spurs the development of the nation– these rights are the pillars to building a strong and constantly developing nation.

3. Rights are recognized by the all people in a society.

4. These are rational and moral claims– These are not illogical and do not depend on hit and trial methods.

5. Since rights are present in a society, these cannot be exercised against the society or against social good of the society.

6. Rights are equally available to all the people without any kind of discrimination.

7. These rights are dynamic. They can be changed according to the situations and conditions prevailing in the society.

8. Rights are not absolute. They can never be. These have certain limitations attached to it that are deemed essential for maintaining public health, security, order and morality.

9. Rights are correlated with duties. They have an intimate relationship between them, they usually go hand in hand.

10. These are protected and enforced by the laws of the state. It is the inherent duty of the government to take various measure to protect the rights of the people.

Kinds of Legal rights

Legal rights are available to citizens without any form of discrimination of gender, caste or creed. The 16 types of legal rights listed as follows:

1. Perfect and imperfect rights- Perfect rights are the perfect duties that are recognized and enforced by the government while the imperfect rights are not of the perfect nature.

2. Positive and negative rights– Positive rights correspond to positive duties. Negative rights correspond to negative duties which are majorly against all the world.

3. Real and personal rights– Real rights are imposed on persons in general. Personal rights are the rights which are imposed on determinate individuals.

4. Rights in rem and rights in personam– Rights in rem is a right against or in respect of a thing while rights in personam are the rights against or in respect of a person.

5. Proprietary and personal rights– Proprietary rights have some monetary value in it. The personal rights are not valuable in monetary terms.

6. Inheritable and uninheritable rights– A right is called inheritable if it survives with a person and a right is called uninheritable if it dies with a person.

7. Principal and accessory rights– Principal rights are the main rights vested under the Persona; these are important. Accessory rights are the consequential rights; these are not that necessary.

8. Rights in Re Propria and Rights in Re Aliena – Right in Re Propria is a right in respect to one’s property. However, Right in Re Aliena is a right in respect to another person’s property.

9. Legal and Equitable rights– Both rights are recognized by all the courts but they differ in their practicality.

10. Primary and secondary rights– Primary rights are the independent rights; these are ipso facto. Secondary rights are the supporting rights to primary rights.

11. Public and private rights– Public rights are vested in the hands of the state. Whereas private rights are exercised by individuals for their own benefits.

12. Vested and contingent rights– Contingent rights depend on the happening or non happening of certain events. Vested rights are already vested in persons.

13. Servient and dominant rights– Servient rights are subjected to encumbrance while the dominant rights are enjoyed by the dominant owner.

14. Municipal and international rights– Municipal rights are conferred by the law of a certain country. International rights are conferred by the International laws.

15. Rights at rest and rights in motion– When a right is in reference with an orbit and its infringement it is called right at rest. Rights in motion are the causes by which they are connected or disconnect with persons.

16. Fus ad rem– it is a right to a right. It is an ordinary and fundamental right.

For law notes, Click Here.


  • https://thefactfactor.com/facts/law/legal_concepts/jurisprudence/legal-rights/176/
  • https://www.srdlawnotes.com/2016/11/kinds-of-legal-rights.html

Author Details: Aditi Deshpande (Hidayatullah National Law University, Naya Raipur)

The views of the author are personal only. (if any)


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