Considering US law (federal, state and local), are there any laws which fall outside of the following categories (pulled from Wikipedia)?

  • Criminal Law
  • Tort Law
  • Contract Law
  • Property Law
  • Constitutional and Administrative Law
  • International Law

As I am not versed in law, it may be that the term 'law' itself is ambiguous or perhaps I have not been precise or accurate in the naming of these categories.

For instance, I'm not sure if military law is properly included as a subset of the bodies I've listed or if it is maintained as separate within our legal institutions.

The long and short of the question intends whether there are any actions (including the null action -- inaction) that can be committed by a person (human or corporate) that, under the jurisdiction of the US, can fall afoul of the law and can't be incorporated into one of the above categories.

To say 'no' would mean than any action (if that term is not itself legally ambiguous) that contravenes the law, criminal or civil, would fall into one of these categories. I suppose it may also be incoherent to consider law merely as a collection of impositions or prohibitions of 'actions'.

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    I think it's rather subjective whether any given law falls into one of these categories. Certainly laws are not required to be explicitly categorized as such. Jul 16, 2019 at 2:23
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    Nor are these categories exclusive. Much of contract law, for ecample, is concerned with establish when an action or inaction under a contract constitutes a tort. Copyright law (and other IP law) does not really fit any of these categories, although it could be considered a variety of tort law. Traffic law and other quasi-criminal law don't fit this list well either, nor do health and safety laws. Jul 16, 2019 at 2:29
  • Thank you for your comments. In searching on traffic laws, I have found cites which include them under criminal law (but I've also found explanations by lawyers that a moving violation doesn't make one a 'criminal'). With regard to IP, I've found references that include them under property law (chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/cgi/…) Jul 16, 2019 at 2:51
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    "Would it be fair to say that an act which falls afoul of the law would fall into one of these or is that also imprecise?" No. This is not true. "My expectation, I suppose, is that, like the 80/20 rule, there are may be supplementary or exotic areas of law that fall outside of these areas whose contravention can't be appropriately categorized as such." This is closer to the truth. The vast majority of statutes (by words or pages or sections or chapters) pertain only to a very small subset of the population. For example, the Clean Air Act is huge but applies to only a couple hundred firms.
    – ohwilleke
    Jul 16, 2019 at 21:51
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    In general, most statutory law applies to only one or a few specific industries or occupations, or pertains to setting forth the internal operations of government (which somewhat misleadingly is not really what is meant by "administrative law"). About half of all legislation passed at the state and local level every two years consists of appropriations bills that are effective for only a couple of years at a time, or even when having a longer term effect are short lived. There are many hundreds of pages of laws setting forth boundary lines for electoral and administrative districts.
    – ohwilleke
    Jul 16, 2019 at 21:56

2 Answers 2



Probate law, consumer protection law and family law spring to mind.


The Military Law of the United States is collected in the Uniform Code of Military Justice and has Jurisidicition over all military service members including reserves, the Coast Guard in times of peace (when it is not part of the Department of Defense but instead DHS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Public Health Service Corp (PHS) but only personnel attached to a military unit or when the organizations are militarized under an Executive Order by the President. Members of the National Guard are subject when operating under Federalization and otherwise are subject to State Uniform Codes of Military Justice.

In the military both the prosecutor counsel, the defense counsel, and the Judge are referred work in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) office. An accused military personnel retains all the Rights of the Accused outlined in the U.S. Constitution (Amendments 4-8 ). Any trial is reffered to as a Court Martial and the Jury varies between one of three types of Court Martial: Summary Court Martial, Special Court Martial, and General Court Martial

Summary is akin to magistrate judgement (commonly used traffic court in traffic court in the U.S.) though doesn't have any real equivalent and is not available to officers and enlisted must consent. Generally the charges are very minor as are the punishments and are considered to be a type of Article 15 proceedings (more on that in a bit). The accused is not entiteld to defense council (the Air Force provides one as matter of policy and other services provide one on case by case basis).

Special is akin to federal misdemeanor court and can have a sentence of no more than one year in jail time. The accused is entitled to a jury which is composed of at least 3 military officers unless the accused is enlisted, in which case one third of the jury must be enlisted rank.

General Court Martial is for serious offenses and would be akin to a felony criminal trial. The accused is entitled to a jury which is composed of at least 5 military officers unless the accused is enlisted, in which case one third of the jury must be enlisted rank.

Finally, the UCMJ allows for Non-Judicial Punishment (NJP) which is punishment for minor infractions by a commanding officer of the accused who is not a JAG officer. The punishment metted out depends on both the rank of the accused and the rank of the trier of fact. Each service has different names for NJP. The Army and Air Force refer to the proceeding as Article 15 (after the article allowing for the practice in the UCMJ). The Navy and Cost Guard refer to it as "Captain's Mast" or "Admiral's Mast" or "Flag Mast" (the latter two are if convened by an Admiral only. The first is regardless of rank otherwise. Name comes from several naval traditions based around the main mast of a sailing ship.). The Marines refer to it as "Office Hours" and one who's conduct is the subject of Office Hours as having been "NJP'd" or more informally and recently "Ninja Punched". Appeals are made to the next step up in the chain of command who can uphold or lessen the punishment or deny the appeal but can not augment the initial punishment. The accused may also request a court martial however the benefit of an NJP is keeping the infraction from being entered in the accused's criminal record.

Although not stated as such, the episode of Star Trek: TNG "Reunion" sees Picard hold a Captain's Mast of sorts against Worf in the conclusion for his actions at the climax (Worf receives a letter of reprimand in his Service Record. In the real world, Worf got off pretty light considering his actions though in fictional universe, the more serious offense was considered a justified homicide under the circumstances.) and "Ensign Ro" sees another such judgement, in which the titular character is confined to quarters for the duration of the mission for leaving the ship without Picard's permission (a more realistic crime and outcome).

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