Law vs. Policy

A policy outlines what a government ministry hopes to achieve and the methods and principles it will use to achieve them.  It states the goals of the ministry. A policy document is not a law but it will often identify new laws needed to achieve its goals. Laws set out standards, procedures and principles that must be followed. If a law is not followed, those responsible for breaking them can be prosecuted in court.

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Law vs. Policy

What is Law?

Laws are set standards, principles, and procedures that must be followed in society. Law is mainly made for implementing justice in the society. Laws are administered through the courts. Laws are enforceable in which the policies comply. Laws must be obeyed by all, including private citizens, groups and companies as well as public figures, organizations and institutions.

What is Policy?

A policy is that which outlines what a government is going to do and what it can achieve for the society as a whole. Policies can be called a set of rules that guide any government or any organization. It is a document that outlines what a government is going to do and what it can achieve for the society as a whole.

Key Differences

  1. Policy sets out the goals and planned activities of a ministry and department but it may be necessary to pass a law to enable government to put in place the necessary institutional and legal frameworks to achieve their aims.
  2. Policies are only documents and not law, but these policies can lead to new laws.
  3. While a law is framed for bringing justice to the society, a policy is framed for achieving certain goals.
  4. Laws are for the people, and policies are made in the name of the people.
  5. Policies can be called a set of rules that guide any government or any organization. Laws are administered through the courts. Laws are enforceable in which the policies comply.
  6. A law is more formal as it is a system of rules and guidelines that are derived for the welfare and equity in society. A policy is just informal as it is just a statement or a document of what is intended to be done in the future.
  7. A policy is a principle that guides decision making, while a law is a rule enforced by an institution. Although laws and policies serve different purposes, both are used to maintain order in society.
  8. A policy is a document that outlines what a government is going to do and what it can achieve for the society as a whole. A law, on the other hand, is a system of rules passed by the government. Laws must be obeyed by all, including private citizens, groups and companies as well as public figures, organizations and institutions.
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