Difference Between Laws and Regulations

Distinguishing the differences between Laws and Regulations can be somewhat confusing at times. With new laws being passed in Congress and new regulations targeting various industries within the United States are making it harder to keep track of each law and regulation individuals and business must comply with. To make matters even more confusing, law and regulations can come from Federal, State, or Local governments.

Laws and regulations interact with each other and can help expedite the legislative process. Legislators are best suited to write laws that allow administrative agencies to regulate and enforce each new law; administrative agencies have the ability to assimilate research that will be needed to set fourth affective guidelines on how to comply with the law. This will allows for a more in-depth law making process.

According to the University of Delaware Library’s Reference Website, There are three types of law which prevail at the federal, state, and local levels of government in the United States. They are:

1. Statutory Law - Statutory law consists of the acts of legislatures.

Statutes are the laws passed by the Congress or state legislature. A statute, also called an act, legislation, or, confusingly, a law, is often a broad statement of principle that is interpreted and applied by case law or implemented through administrative regulations. (Hilton C. Buley Library)

2. Case (Judicial Law) – Case law is the law of reported judicial opinions. “Stare Decisis” (or precedent) is the basic concept of case law (common law) in which courts look to statutes and regulations and prior court decisions to formulate opinions.

3. Regulations (or Administrative Law) – Regulatory agencies create regulations according to rules and processes defined by another law know as the Administration Procedure Act (APA). (2010, Longley)

  • Regulations are written by executive agencies
  • Establish rules and procedures to administer the statutory law passed by Congress and signed by the President
  • Published in the Federal Register
  • Published in the Code of Federal Regulations after being catagorized

Regulations can be thought of as industry specific laws that apply to certain groups. The key here is knowing which Regulatory Agencies apply to your corporation and learn to become confortable with each of them. Compliance officers are a great way to keep your corporation or business in compliance as they are generally well versed in dealing with compliance issues. If questions occur, it can be benificial to seek advise from a Lawyer versed in compliance law.

By: Joseph Dustin

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