Difference Between Act and Law

What is Act?

In democratic countries, legislation is done by the elected public representatives. They are present in the parliament to make new laws and amend the already existing ones – if necessary. In legal terms, an act is a bill passed and ratified by the parliament members and enacted as a strict rule in a particular context.

Before it is passed, every bill is thoroughly debated to reflect on its aspects and implications. When a bill becomes law, it is called an act. As for the procedural requirements of a bill to become an actor, the method of passing a bill varies from country to country. There are still some common characteristics of acts in every country.

The act is not straightforward and direct in terms of instructions and thus requires an in-depth understanding of legal affairs. In terms of legal authority, an act is not as powerful as a law. Moreover, it is not general in its scope. It may be about a particular situation or condition or related to a social group.

What is Law?

Law implies the set of rules, regulations, and instructions that are made to regulate behavior for social order and collective good. Every registered citizen of a country is required to submit to the law. Since laws are for the collective good, they are made keeping in view the preferences and needs of people. Anyone who is found violating the law is trialed in court to be acquitted or punished as per the available evidence.

In nature, the law is a direct and straightforward instruction that tells what to do and what to not do. Effective laws are unambiguous because if a law is unclear, it will be difficult to implement. Laws are made equal for every citizen, and nobody is assumed above the law. Democracy favors laws that are for the people and from the people.

In legal practice, law bears the supreme power because it has to have the power to control and regulate people. It does not imply that laws cannot be changed or abolished. This, however, needs a laborious and complex procedure, varying from one country to the other. Law is for the welfare of the people so that they may live harmonious life.

Difference Between Act and Law

  1. The act is a form of legislation put forth by parliament to amend and make laws, whereas law refers to enacted rules and regulations of the state.
  2. The act is understood in a particular context with a lot of details, whereas the law is more general and direct in its scope.
  3. The act is promulgated as a legislated opinion with legal underpinnings, whereas the law states the dos and don’ts.
  4. The act ought to further the legal understanding of the public about a matter, whereas the law is made to regulate and establish public order.
  5. The act is less powerful in terms of authority, whereas the law is considered more powerful and resistant to revocation.

Comparison Table Between Act and Law

Parameters of ComparisonActLaw
DefinitionA form of parliamentarian legislation to make a new law and amend an existing lawLaws, rules and regulations passed and enacted by the government of a state
ScopeParticular about a matter with detailsGenerally relevant and already enacted
Instruction ModeAn in-depth legal standpoint about a matterClearly points out the dos and don’ts for citizens
FunctionTo expound rules to people in specific situationsTo regulate people and establish order
Authority LevelLess PowerfulMore Powerful


  1. https://www.parliament.tas.gov.au/tpl/PPWeb/1900/1900pp55.pdf
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=YVMalkRzqMgC&oi=fnd&pg=PT4&dq=law&ots=qXapV3DrlV&sig=VyeQsbvfMXmGvaxmJInJEXCrZsE