Difference Between Act & Law

Act vs Law

The distinction between act and law lies in their formation. Law is a term easily understood by common people. It refers to a piece of legislation that is binding on people and must be followed by everyone. Laws have provisions that apply to people in various situations. Laws are created by legislators, who are members of parliament. Many people cannot discern the difference between a law and an act, as they believe both terms are the same and interchangeable. To some extent, they are correct, as acts of parliament are a type of law, and there are other types of legislation as well. This article aims to clarify the doubts people have regarding the differences between acts and laws.

Key Takeaways

  • An act is a specific type of law, while a law is a more general term referring to all rules and regulations passed by the parliament.
  • An act pertains to specific situations and circumstances, while a law is more common and applicable to a broader range of situations.
  • An act becomes a law once it is passed by the parliament, while a law is already established and known as such.

What is a Law?

A law is a system of regulations designed to govern people, helping them conduct themselves according to societal norms. Laws generally protect people and maintain public order. Laws guide and protect people and are more general in nature, not overly complicated. They directly outline what people should and should not do. For example, walking on railway tracks is prohibited. In this case, the law is simple and direct, not requiring further explanation.

What is an Act?

An act, on the other hand, is a piece of legislation that is more specific and applies to particular circumstances and specific people. For instance, there are laws against drunk driving that people are aware of, while DUI is the specific act that pertains to drunk driving. Moreover, acts are created by the government to inform people about provisions relating to a specific situation and explain why the public must follow these mandatory rules and regulations.

An act is typically a constitutional plan created by the government and must be passed in parliament. It also must receive approval from parliamentary ministers to become a law. Until an act is passed by parliament and becomes a law, it is known as a bill. An act allows the government’s ideas to become mandatory for the country’s people.

What is the difference between Act and Law?

  • Law is a generic term referring to all rules and regulations passed by parliament to guide people’s conduct, protect citizens, and maintain public order.
  • Acts are a type of law that pertains to specific situations and circumstances. They are passed by the government to inform people about the rules and regulations for specific situations.
  • Until an act is passed by parliament, it cannot become a law. An act is known as a bill until it is passed by parliament. A law is always known as a law because it is already established.
  • Laws are more common in nature, while acts are more specific, carrying the ideas of the government in power. The government brings acts to parliament.
  • When referring to a country’s rules and regulations, the term law is used. However, when discussing the subject matter in-depth, the act must be referred to.
  • Law states what must be followed clearly and concisely (e.g., drunk driving is prohibited). In contrast, an act is more descriptive, containing all the necessary information to enforce a law. This is why people often quote from acts, especially in court, where complete information is needed for arguments on either side.
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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