Difference Between Act and Law

The words Law and Act are widely interchanged by people who don’t understand the purview of both and hold limited knowledge of legal concepts. They both are the most recurrent words when any content is read or examined from legal aspects.

They seem similar but aren’t.

Act vs Law

The difference between Act and Law is that an Act is a bill that is passed by the parliament and law is the rules and regulations enforced by an authority. Act can make changes in the existing act or make a new act for the welfare of the society whereas law is made for the rights and equality of the citizens.

Act vs Law

Law can be implemented or take a form of ordinance, regulations, rules, by-laws, order, statues, amendments, etc. Law is a rule of procedure or established by agreement, authority, or custom.

Anything which holds the power to grant legal obligations, rights, liabilities, etc. to the citizens of the country is termed as Law.

An Act is a decree or law that is approved by the respective legislature i.e. State Legislative Assembly or Parliament. A bill is placed in the legislature and then voted by the members of the legislative body.

If it is passed then it is sent to the Governor or President for approval. Once approved, it is enacted as an Act.

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonActLaw
DefinitionA bill when placed & pass through legislative steps and get approved becomes the Act. It is more specific for specific people under particular circumstances.A system of rules & regulations that are created to govern people and seeks their conduct according to it for the benefit people & society is called a Law. Laws are created to maintain public order and to protect people.
Relationship Between BothAn Act is a sub-set of Law.Law holds its single purview over the larger picture.
ObjectiveAct caters to a specific situation i.e. what a person will do if he/she gets stuck or face particular circumstance.Law abides the people to strictly follow the defined rules and regulations.
Nature of OperationConditional or SpecificMore General and Are Not Complicated

What is an Act?

The Act describes the statutes formed by the legislature for a particular subject and contains its associated & specific provisions. It is more specific for a specific set of people i.e. how they react in a particular situation.

Let’s understand it with an example, for drunk driving, there are specific laws that are defined and people are well aware of them. While there is a specific DUI Act that is defined for drunk driving under that law.

Acts are provisions that enacted by the government or legislative body for the people to understand the meaning of specific circumstances, how they are expected to react or behave in that particular situation, and why it is so important to follow such act.

A bill is proposed in the parliament or respective legislature (in both houses) and voted by their members, if passed then it is sent to Governor of the state or President of the country for approval. Once approved, it is enacted. It is a constitutional plan.

Various Acts deals with different aspects of the defined laws. Some acts are procedural while some are substantive and some are public while some are private.

What is Law?

Law is a system or body of rules & regulations that are created to govern the society and people. Laws are enforced to ensure proper conduct or behavior by people according to the accepted norms of society.

Laws are regulated by government institutions and hold sovereign authority in it. If any individual or group of people found who are deviating or not respecting the defined law will get punished.

Laws are defined to protect people and maintain public order.

It demarks what as a citizen of the country you are supposed to do and what not. Laws are sovereign to men and considered as politically superior.

It can also be seen as a social engineering tool that ensures no misconduct by the people of the society. Laws are vital and very essential for a safe society and country as a whole.

It creates a sense of responsibility among people and fear among the bad.

It protects one from others by providing the set of regulations that are important for the social life concerning the individual’s family, property, and most importantly their life.


Main Differences Between Act and Law

We as citizen hold a responsibility towards our country and bounded to certain rules & regulations that are defined in terms of Acts and Laws. It becomes our utmost priority to stringently abide by them.

And it becomes essential as an individual to understand the difference between Act and Law so that neither intentionally nor unintentionally person breaks the same.

  1. Law is a system of rules, principles, or regulations that are laid to effectively govern the affairs or conduct of people in the society, which are enforced by a government institution or legal authoritative body. Whereas, Act is a sub-set of Law and refers to the statues defined by the respective legislature and approved by the Governor or the President.
  2. An Act is specific in nature i.e. applicable to specific people for specific situations or circumstances. Whereas Law is more generalized in nature i.e. applicable to all and considers everybody the same.
  3. Law is enforceable as it is an established phenomenon, whereas an Act is represented by the bill.
  4. Law is ahead of Act as if no law defined, then there would not be any Act.
  5. Acts are made to make people aware of certain rules & regulation whereas the Law is defined to stop unfair practices, maintain public order, and importantly to protect individuals or people.
Difference Between Act and Law


  1. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/act
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