Difference Between Legislation and Regulation

Law can be defined as a system of rules created or enforced with the help of social or government institutions. These are made to regulate behavior, for the proper functioning of the system, for justice.


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The laws are applicable to its people, in the form of legislation or custom/policies, and are recognized by the judicial. While we are talking about laws, two major words pop up. Legislation and regulation.

Key Takeaways

  1. The legislation refers to making laws by the legislative body of a country or state, while regulation pertains to implementing those laws by regulatory agencies.
  2. The legislative body can create, amend or repeal laws, while regulatory agencies are authorized to interpret and enforce them.
  3. Legislation is a broader term encompassing all laws, including regulations, while regulation is a specific type of law dealing with controlling or directing certain activities.

Legislation vs Regulation

The difference between legislation and regulation is that legislation is the act or process of making certain laws while regulation is maintaining the law or set of rules that govern the people.

Legislation vs Regulation

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The term legislation means formation/preparation and enacting of the laws by local, state, or national legislatures. It may have many purposes. Be it for authorization, for providing funds, or to grant permission, etc.

Regulation is a management system, you may say. A system that works according to the given set of rules and laws. It is a government-driven or ministerial order having the force of law.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonLegislationRegulation
DefinitionIt can be defined as the act of making or enacting laws.It may be defined as the act of regulating a law, rule, or other orders prescribed by the authority.
Head of StateLegislation may be proposed by the head of state.Regulations are not interfered with by the head of state. Rather they are enforced by regulators.
GenerationLegislations are generated within a country’s government.Regulations are either generated externally or internally. Pertaining to the situations.
ProposalIt is a directive proposed by a legislative bodyRegulations are made by the regulating authority. It is a specific requirement needed within the legislation.
TypesLegislations are of two types. Supreme legislation and subordinate legislation.The two most common forms of regulations are government regulation and self-regulation.
Bill FormationLegislations need to be passed and debated before it becomes a law.Regulations are made to implement a given law. It doesn’t have to go through the bill process.

What is the Legislation?

The word legislation is made up of two words “Legis” meaning law and “latum” meaning ‘to making’. It means lawmaking. It also refers to the laws made by the legislature. You may consider it as a formal declaration of legal rules.

This includes all sources of law, any acts to alter the law.

For example, you may consider in case of a judicial decision. When a judge introduces a new principle in a judicial system. It is possible to say that he had made use of legislative powers and this also may be considered legislation.

Legislations, in general, are passed as laws by a parliament of the country or some legislative arm of the country. Once the legislation is passed, it ought to be regulated.

This is done by government bodies to work out various ways that need to be introduced for its proper functioning. Legislations can be colonial subordinate, judicial, municipal, environmental, etc.

But what’s the purpose of the legislation?

Many of its functions are- to regulate, for authorization, for prescribing, for granting, or maybe for restriction or repealing.

The legislation is of two types-

  1. Supreme Legislation– This is done by the sovereign power of the state or country. Any other legislative authority cannot, in any case, repeal or control this legislation.
  2. Subordinate Legislation– Legislation by an authority other than the Supreme authority in the state. These are subjects to parliamentary control.  
legislation 1

What is Regulation?

Regulation can be defined as a certain process for monitoring and enforcement of the law. You may understand it in this way. If legislation is like a destination, regulation is how we reach there.

Legislations are just the laws that have been passed. But to ensure its proper working, the regulation comes into action.

One confusion that arises here is that regulation is also the name of the document which contains details like description of rules and acts.

In industry, regulations specify the particular formal rules that ought to be followed by organizations and workers.

The most common forms of regulation are –

  1. Government Regulation– it is the natural extension of legislation. It can control some of the ways, a business, etc. should operate in order to follow laws.
  2. Self-regulation– It is when a business or individual has control over how it meets the legislative requirements.

Main Differences Between Legislation and Regulation

  1. The main difference between legislation and regulation lies in the definition. When the law is being made and supposed to come into action, it is called legislation. On the other hand, how the laws need to be adopted and followed, the rules and methods regarding this is called regulation
  2. Making legislation takes time and is monitored by the head of the state. In the case of regulations, the head of the state has nothing to do. Instead, it is looked upon by the regulators.
  3. Legislations before becoming law are known as bills. They are debated by members of the legislature before becoming a law. Regulation, on the other hand, is just a set of rules that is coined by the regulators. They don’t have to pass through a long process.
  4. Legislations are usually proposed by the members of the legislature, or by the executive. The legislators have the power to interpret legislation. Regulations are made by the regulatory bodies for the proper implementation of a given law. So, they are a specific requirement within legislation.
  5. The legislation is broader and a more general concept while regulations are specific and provide details about how the implementation .
Difference Between Legislation and Regulation
  1. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/mlr111&section=17
  2. http://ijasrm.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/IJASRM_V4S5_1526_75_81.pdf
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