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Criminal Procedure: Primary Sources of Law

A body of rules and statutes that defines conduct prohibited by the government because it threatens and harms public safety and welfare and that establishes punishment to be imposed for the commission of such acts.

Primary Sources of Law

Primary sources of law in legal research vocabulary are the texts of enactments by governments containing rules that govern a state jurisdiction.

 Each branch of government, both at the federal and provincial level, produces law.  Understanding the overall landscape of the legal sources, it is helpful before beginning research of one source or one area of law. The chart below is a simplified overview of federal law, listing the major types of law publications of each branch.  Provincial governments produce laws in a similar set-up.


The Constitution
↓ ↓ ↓


Branch of Govt.







Type of Law Produced


Case Law





Chronological Publication of Law


Case Law Reporters


Session Laws (Federal Laws)


The Gazette of Pakistan

Publication of Law By Subject

PLD, ScMR    etc.

Pakistan Code

Gazette Notifications

Note that each government branch produces law that is published chronologically.  The public laws and regulations are then published in Pakistan code by subject.  Case law is not published by subject (thus, research case law requires a “finding tool” to locate cases by subject).