Difference Between an Act and a Regulation

In this modern and civilised world, almost every country has a legislative or constitutional body to make laws that can help in running the affairs of state smoothly. The basic purpose of laws is to regulate all the citizens and ensure the protection of every one’s life.

“Act” and “Regulation” are the most heard word in the law-making process and mostly people think that they are same things. There is lot of difference in them as an act is a bill that has been processed and passed by the legislators whereas regulations are details associated with an act. It is a regulation that makes an act easier for a common man. It defines how that act is going to be applicable in different situations.

An act has to undergo a complete process of legislation whereas the regulation can be approved by a group of individuals.

For example, in every country, carrying a sound driving license is compulsory while travelling on the road. Now it is an ‘Act’ that makes you liable for having an unexpired a driving license. An appropriate regulation here is when your car has been seized due to wrong parking then you need to present your driving license to get it back from the authorities.


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    A bill has to undergo different stages before becoming an Act. Though, this legislation process differs from country to country but still there is a standard structure that legislators follow.

    In the first step, a member of the parliament introduces a bill. This stage is called “First Reading”. After moving a bill, speaker directs to publish it in the official gazette.

    Next step is to present the bill in front of the relevant standing committee. The committee members consider general principles and clauses before making a report. After the recommendation of standing committee, the bill qualifies for the second reading which is a two-step process.

    In first step, there is a general discussion for amendments and then comes the second stage in which members of the parliament discuss the bill clause by clause. After the bill is passed by one house, it is presented in other house for further discussion.

    With the approval of both houses, this bill becomes an Act.

    Image Courtesy: actnowus.org

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    The regulation is basically a description to make legislative things lot easier for a layman. It does not need to go through a series of readings.

    Image Courtesy: executiveboard.com

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