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Difference between Law and Act – 5 Major Differences | Business Law

Law and act are legal terms that are often used interchangeably, but they have distinct meanings and implications within the field of legislation. The scope, formation, and application of law and act differ, even though they both represent legal rules or regulations.


A law is a set of rules and principles established by the governing authority of a country, for example, its constitution, its legislative bodies, or its judicial system.

A law regulates human behavior, maintains order, protects rights, and provides a framework for social interaction within a society. The types of laws vary greatly. Some include constitutional law, criminal law, civil law, administrative law, and so on.

Characteristics of law

Some of the characteristics of law are as follows:

characteristics of law


The scope of laws is broader as they cover a country or jurisdiction’s entire legal system. In addition to civil rights, criminal offenses, contractual relationships, property ownership, and others, they regulate a wide range of legal matters.

Legal Hierarchy:

There is a hierarchy of laws within the legal system. Constitutional law stands at the top, setting forth the fundamental principles and framework of government.

Below constitutional law are statutes, regulations, and case law, which are subordinate to constitutional law and are derived from it.

Legislative Process:

The legislative process is primarily responsible for drafting, resolving, and enacting laws. Parliament, congress, or a similar governing body formulates, debates, and enacts laws. Bills are drafted, reviewed, amended, and passed into law during the legislative process.

Public Nature:

Laws apply to the entire population within a jurisdiction, meaning they are binding on individuals, organizations, and government entities.

Providing transparency and awareness of legal rights and obligations is done by publishing and making laws available for public access.


A law is enforced by the judicial branch of government. It is the court’s responsibility to resolve disputes and administer justice based on its interpretation and application.

The legal system determines the consequences of violations of the law, such as fines, imprisonment, or other penalties.

Examples of Laws:

The following are some common examples of laws based on jurisdiction:

Criminal Law:

Crime law refers to a system of laws that define and punish offenses such as murder, theft, assault, and fraud.

Civil Law:

In civil law, individuals and organizations have the right to settle private disputes among themselves. Some examples of civil law include contract law, property law, family law, and tort law.

Constitutional Law:

The Constitution establishes the fundamental principles, rights, and structure of government in a country. It is the supreme law of the land, which serves as a foundation or reference point for all other legislation.

Administrative Law:

The administrative laws regulate the activities of government agencies and administrative bodies. They govern licensing, permits, regulations, and procedures that governments follow.


An act is a specific type of legislation enacted by a legislative body to address a particular issue or subject matter. Legislation is a form of government regulation passed by the legislative branch.

It can come in the form of a statute, a code, or an ordinance. Legislation is typically more specific and focused than broader legislation, targeting a specific area of regulation or addressing specific social, economic, or legal issues.

Characteristics of Act

Some of the characteristics of acts are as follows:

characteristics of acts


A law has a broader scope than an act. Acts are focused on particular subjects or issues, such as environmental protection, labor regulations, taxation, or consumer rights.

Detailed regulations and provisions are included in each act, according to the specific area that is covered.

Legislative Process:

Acts are created through the legislative process, just like laws. Legislators introduce them as bills, they go through committee reviews and debates, and the legislative body ultimately passes them.

Acts can be enacted by different levels of government, including the national, state, or local government.

Legal hierarchy:

The legal hierarchy is based on the constitution, existing laws, and judicial review where appropriate to ensure that the act is constitutionally compliant.

Acts are one element of the broader legal system, but they are not independent of it.


The legal system enforces statutes, just as laws are enforced through the courts. Courts interpret and apply acts to resolve disputes and administer justice, and violations can result in legal consequences, such as fines, penalties, or liability.

Examples of Acts:

The acts may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the particular subject matter. Here are some examples:

Clean Air Act:

A regulation and standard for controlling air pollution and protecting air quality are set forth in the Clean Air Act.

FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act):

This law guarantees job protection during leave for specified family and medical reasons.

Consumer Protection Act:

A Consumer Protection Act safeguards consumers’ rights and ensures that they are protected from unfair business practices, false advertising, and defective products.

Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA):

A safety and health standard is set by OSHA to ensure safe working conditions for employees at workplaces.

Difference between Law and Act:

Some of the difference between Law and Act are as follows:

Difference between Law and Act


A law’s scope is broader because it encompasses the entire legal system of a country or jurisdiction, while an act’s scope is narrower because it addresses a specific issue or subject matter.

Legislative Process:

The legislative process is used to create laws and acts. Acts are more targeted, whereas laws cover a wider range of legal concerns.

Legal hierarchy:

The legal hierarchy refers to the hierarchical structure of laws, with constitutional laws at the top. Acts are part of this legal hierarchy and derive their authority from existing laws or the constitution.


Laws generally provide a broader framework of legal principles and rules whereas acts provide specific and detailed regulations and provisions related to the subject matter they address.

Subject Matter:

There are a number of issues addressed by laws, including environmental protection, labor regulations, taxation, and consumer rights. They may target specific social, economic, or legal concerns.

There are a number of legal issues covered by laws, including criminal offenses, civil disputes, constitutional principles, and administrative regulations.

A law or an act is a type of law that refers to a different aspect of legislation. In contrast to law, an act is a specific type of legislation that addresses a specific issue or subject matter, while law refers to a comprehensive legal system that regulates various aspects of society.

According to the constitution, laws are based on a broader scope, and they cover a wide range of topics.

The acts, on the other hand, are focused on specific areas of concern, have authority derived from existing laws, and provide detailed regulations. A society’s legal framework and social, economic, and legal interactions are regulated by laws and acts.

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