Difference between Law and Legislation
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 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. Legislation is another term meaning statutory law. These laws have been enacted by a legislature or the governing body of a country. Legislation can also mean the process of making the law.
In order to establish a society it must follow a set of rules and laws that help govern its smooth running. The laws and rules are established to ensure that everyone is treated as the same. 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. The laws and rules used to maintain smooth and efficient functioning of the society. Imaging a society with no rules, where a person will be free to do as he/she wishes. It will unleash chaos and the society will fall. Laws and rules go hand-in-hand causing much confusion over their definitions. To many people, including in legal terms, laws and rules are the same and can be used simultaneously. However, these are different words and used in different contexts.
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.
Legislation is another term meaning statutory law. These laws have been enacted by a legislature or the governing body of a country. Legislation can also mean the process of making the law. Let’s first understand how a law is made. The law starts off with being an idea. The idea is then put down a piece of paper, which is known as a bill. This bill goes then goes to the legislative branch, who will vote either to approve or reject the bill. If the bill is approved, it then goes to the regulatory branch, which is responsible for writing out the details of the bill and the implementation process. This bill then becomes a law. This process varies depending upon the countries. Under the Westminster system, the primary legislation, after it is approved is known as an Act of Parliament. The term ‘legislation’ may also include other forms of law making such as referendums, constitutional conventions, orders in council or regulations. However, the term primary legislation can exclude these laws.
Dictionary.com defines ‘legislation’ as:
- The act of making or enacting laws.
- A law or a body of laws enacted.
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