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.
- An act is a legislative proposal approved by the legislature and signed into law by the executive branch.
- Law is a system of rules and regulations that the government enforces.
- An act is a specific piece of legislation, while law refers to the entire body of rules and regulations that govern a society.
Act vs Law
Act is passed by the legislative, while laws are the rules and regulations enforced by the government. Act is a decree that is passed by the respective legislature, while law is a collection of mandatory rules to be followed. Act establishes laws, while law ensures people follow them.
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The law can be implemented or take the form of ordinance, regulations, rules, by-laws, orders, statutes, amendments, etc. Law is a rule of procedure established by agreement, authority, or custom.
Anything that holds power to grant legal obligations, rights, liabilities, etc., to the country’s citizens is termed as Law.
An Act is a decree or law approved by the respective legislature, i.e. State Legislative Assembly or Parliament. A bill is placed in the legislature and then voted on by the members of the legislative body.
If passed, it is sent to the Governor or President for approval. Once approved, it is enacted as an Act.
|Parameter of Comparison||Act||Law|
|Definition||A 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 created to govern people and seeks their conduct according to it for the benefit of people & society is called a Law. Laws are created to maintain public order and protect people.|
|Relationship Between Both||An Act is a sub-set of Law.||Law holds its single purview over the larger picture.|
|Objective||Act caters to a specific situation, i.e. what a person will do if he/she gets stuck or face a particular circumstance.||Law abides the people to follow the defined rules and regulations strictly.|
|Nature of Operation||Conditional or Specific||More 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.
For example, for drunk driving, there are specific laws that are defined, and people are well aware of them. At the same time, a specific DUI Act is defined for drunk driving under that law.
Acts are provisions 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 essential to follow such acts.
A bill is proposed in the parliament or respective legislature (in both houses) and voted by their members; if passed, it is sent to the Governor of the state or President of the country for approval. Once approved, it is enacted. It is a constitutional plan.
Various Acts deal with different aspects of the defined laws. Some acts are procedural, some are substantive, some are public, and others are private.
What is Law?
Law is a system or body of rules & regulations that are created to govern society and people. Laws are enforced to ensure proper conduct or behaviour by people according to the accepted norms of society.
Laws are regulated by government institutions and hold sovereign authority if any individual or group of people who deviate from or do not respect the defined law will be 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 politically superior.
It can also be seen as a social engineering tool that ensures no misconduct by the people of society. Laws are vital for a safe society and country as a whole.
It creates a sense of responsibility among people and fears of the bad.
It protects one from others by providing a set of regulations necessary for the social life concerning the individual’s family, property, and, most importantly, life.
Main Differences Between Act and Law
We as citizens hold a responsibility towards our country and bounded to specific rules & regulations that are defined in terms of Acts and Laws. It becomes our utmost priority to abide by them stringently.
And it becomes essential for an individual to understand the difference between Act and Law so that neither intentionally nor unintentionally person breaks the same.
- Law is a system of rules, principles, or regulations laid to effectively govern the affairs or conduct of people in society, which are enforced by a government institution or authoritative legal body. At the same time, Act is a sub-set of Law and refers to the statutes defined by the respective legislature and approved by the Governor or the President.
- An Act is specific, i.e. applicable to specific people for specific situations or circumstances. At the same time, Law is more generalized, i.e. applicable to all and considers everybody the same.
- Law is enforceable as it is an established phenomenon, whereas the bill represents an Act.
- Law is ahead of Act. If no law is defined, then there would not be any Act.
- Acts are made to make people aware of specific rules & regulations, whereas the Law is defined to stop unfair practices, maintain public order, and protect individuals or people.
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Emma Smith holds an MA degree in English from Irvine Valley College. She has been a Journalist since 2002, writing articles on the English language, Sports, and Law. Read more about me on her bio page.