Difference Between Legal & Lawful

Legal vs Lawful

Legal, lawful, and legitimate are terms that describe things, events, and activities permitted by law and not subject to punishment under the law. However, the terms legal and lawful are not synonymous, as many people believe, and understanding the subtle differences between the two can help some individuals avoid legal trouble. This article will explore some of these differences.


Confusion often arises because of the technical jargon used by attorneys, leading people to be misled by facts related to the law. However, the blame lies with those who allow themselves to be misled. The term “legal” pertains to the science of law, its administration, understanding, and practice. Everything associated with this profession is termed legal, including the advice given by attorneys to their clients, which is referred to as legal advice. When we hear the word “legal,” we visualize the world of law, courts, lawyers, judges, and all the paraphernalia that constitutes the legal system. It is clear that anything related to or based upon law is referred to as legal.


When an event, thing, structure, organization, agreement, etc. is in accordance with the law or permitted and sanctioned by the law of the land, it is considered to be lawful. Anything that conforms to or is recognized by the law is automatically lawful. Anything lawful is considered not to be forbidden by law. One can consider anything valid as lawful.

Key Takeaways

  • Legal pertains to everything concerned with law.
  • While lawful relates to the substance of law, legal is more concerned with the form of law.
  • Lawful places emphasis on ethical content in law and focuses on the spirit of law, whereas legal attaches more importance to the form of law.
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.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles