Key Difference: Laws are actually rules and guidelines that are set up by the social institutions to govern behavior. These laws are made by government officials. Laws must be obeyed by all. Laws set out standards, procedures and principles that must be followed. Acts can be classified as two things: a document that records a fact, something said or something done. It can also be known as a law or statue that has been enacted by the government. Acts are basically rules that have noted down a piece of paper. Acts, if passed, are then turned into laws.
Rules, laws and acts are a necessary part of a society. In order to ensure the smooth running of the society, it is important that everyone knows what a person can do and cannot do. It helps everyone be treated as the same under the law. The laws and rules ensure that each individual must follow a set of guidelines and if/she ends up breaking any of those rules they must accept the consequences no matter their social standing or position. Acts and laws are actually more connected and can be considered as the same thing. However, some people may argue that they are different. Acts are what give birth to laws. Confused? Let’s look at the definitions of both.
Laws are actually rules and guidelines that are set up by the social institutions to govern behavior. These laws are made by government officials that in some countries are elected by the public to represent their views. In simple terms, laws are basically things that a person can and cannot do. It is enforced by government officials such as police officers, agents and judges. Laws are ideas that must go through the process of checks, balances and votes in order for them to become a law. However, the enactment of a law varies based on the government. In an autocracy, the leader has the power to pass any law he wishes. In a democracy, the bill to enact a law must be voted on by the different parts of the government. Laws must be obeyed by all, including private citizens, groups and companies as well as public figures, organizations and institutions. Laws set out standards, procedures and principles that must be followed. A law is enforceable by the judicial system, i.e. those responsible for breaking them can be prosecuted in court. There are various types of laws framed like criminal laws, civil laws, and international laws. Breaking a law is a punishable crime and has drastic consequences such as hefty fines, jail time and community service time.
Dictionary.com defines ‘law’ as:
- The principles and regulations established in a community by some authority and applicable to its people, whether in the form of legislation or of custom and policies recognized and enforced by judicial decision.
- Any written or positive rule or collection of rules prescribed under the authority of the state or nation, as by the people in its constitution.
- The controlling influence of such rules; the condition of society brought about by their observance.
- A system or collection of such rules.
Acts can be classified as two things: a document that records a fact, something said or something done. It can also be known as a law or statue that has been enacted by the government. Acts are basically rules that have noted down a piece of paper. Acts, if passed, are then turned into laws. Hence, going back to the pervious statement; they give birth to laws. A draft of the act is known as a bill, which is then altered, modified, detailed and turned into an act. The process of a bill becoming an act and then a law varies depending on the country and the government.
Dictionary.com defines ‘act’ as:
- A formal decision, law, or the like, by a legislature, ruler, court, or other authority; decree or edict; statute; judgment, resolve, or award
- An instrument or document stating something done or transacted.
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