Law and Politics Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

What is the difference between laws and acts and rules and regulations?

Expert Answers info

matlamb17 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2019

write19 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Law and Politics, and Business

This is a great question, because the terms are often confusing and used interchangeably, when they should not be used that way.

A law or act is created by the legislature, such as Congress, a city council, or the general assembly of a state. It generally explains the purpose of what is trying to be accomplished and lays out the framework for accomplishing that goal. For example, a law could be passed that requires banks to give leniency to clients who are late paying back loans.

Rules and regulations are then created by the executive branch. In this example, perhaps it is the state's Department of Finance or Department of Consumer Protection. The executive branch would then explain how the law will be implemented. For example, they might issue a rule that all banks have to give clients six months to catch up on late bills, or they might allow banks to write off unpaid loans on their taxes, to encourage them to be more lenient.

Laws and acts are the "what," and rules and regulations are the "how."

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write35,413 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Social Sciences

The difference between laws and acts on the one hand, and rules and regulations on the other hand has to do with who makes them and where they get the authority to make them.

Laws and acts are passed by legislative bodies.  These include city councils, state legislatures, and the US Congress.  The legislative bodies get the authority to pass these laws from the US Constitution or from state constitutions.  In other words, legislative bodies have the authority to make laws on any topic they wish without getting authorization from any higher authority.

By contrast, rules and regulations are written by parts of the executive branch.  The agencies of the various executive branches get their authority to write rules from the legislative branches.  A legislature writes a law giving a certain part of the executive branch the power to write regulations to implement the law.  Executive branch agencies do not have the authority to write regulations unless it is given to them by the legislative branch.


check Approved by eNotes Editorial