Difference Between Act and Law

Act vs Law
 

The difference between act and law exist in their formation. Law is a word that is easily understood by common people. It is a piece of legislation that is binding upon people and is followed by all. It has provisions that are applicable on people in different circumstances. Laws are made by the legislators who are the members of the parliament. Many people cannot make out the difference between a Law and an Act as they believe both are same and interchangeable. Well, they are right to an extent as Acts of Parliament are a type of Law and there are other types of legislation also. This article will try to clarify the doubts people have regarding differences between Act and law.

If you talk to a legal person, he will tell you that there is not much to choose between an Act and a law. This is because an Act is a law of the land. Let us see how.

What is a Law?

A law is a system of regulations that are made to govern people, to help them in their conduct according to the norms of the society. Laws are generally for the protection of people and to maintain public order. Laws are there to guide and protect people. Laws are more general in nature, and they are not complicated. We get to see what we should do and should not do directly. For example, walking on the railway line is prohibited. Here, we see that walking on the railway line is prohibited. We do not have to spend time trying to understand it as it is simple and direct.

Difference Between Act and Law

What is an Act?

On the other hand, Act is a piece of legislation that is more specific and applies to particular circumstances and specific people. For example, there are laws against drunk driving and people are aware of them while DUI is the specific Act that pertains to drunk driving. Furthermore, Acts are made by the government, to let people know about provisions pertaining to a specific situation, and how and why public is required to follow these mandatory rules and regulations.

Act vs Law

President John F. Kennedy as he signs the Equal Pay Act into law

We said that an Act is more specific. That is because usually an Act is a constitutional plan that is created by the government. This has to be created at the parliament. It also has to pass the vote of the parliament ministers in order to become a law. Until an Act is passed by parliament, in order to turn it to a law, an Act is known as a Bill. Through an Act, the ideas of the government are made mandatory for the people of the country

What is the difference between Act and Law?

• Law is a generic term that refers to all rules and regulations passed by the parliament and are meant to guide the conduct of people. Laws also help in the protection of the citizens and also in maintaining public order.

• Acts are a type of Laws that pertain to specific situations and circumstances. They are passed by the government, to let people know the rules and regulations about specific situations.

• Until an Act is passed by the parliament, it cannot become a law. Until it is passed by the parliament, an Act is known as a Bill. Law is always known as law, because it is something that is already established.

• Laws are common in nature. Act is more specific as they carry the ideas of the government in power. They are the ones who bring an Act to the parliament.

• Also, when commonly referring to the rules and regulation of a country we use the term law. However, when we want to discuss deeply about the subject matter we have to refer to the Act.

• Law states what needs to be followed clearly and shortly (ex: drunk driving is prohibited). However, an Act is more descriptive as it contains all the necessary information to enforce a law. That is why you see people quoting from Acts especially when they are in a court. In such a situation, one needs to have the complete set of information as a person can argue in favor of one side or the other.

 

Images Courtesy:

  1. Law by Rifqi Jamil (CC BY-SA 3.0)
  2. President John F. Kennedy as he signs the Equal Pay Act into law via Wikicommons (Public Domain)