Legal Terms

Statute meaning in law and legal documents

A statute is a written law passed by a legislative body.

Normal people might use the word "law" instead of "statute"

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What does statute mean in legal documents?

A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative body, which holds the status of law. In essence, it is a law that has been passed by a government's legislative branch and codified into the legal framework of a jurisdiction. Statutes are the primary source of law in many legal systems and are used to regulate, mandate, or prohibit certain behaviors, establish agencies, or impose sanctions for non-compliance.

Statutes in Practice

To further illustrate, an example of a statute might be a law established to govern the speed at which individuals can legally drive on highways. This statute would specify the speed limits and outline penalties for violating them. It is a concrete rule set by the legislative body that must be followed by those within its jurisdiction.

Statute Simplified

If you were to encapsulate the meaning of statute in one word, it would be "law." However, it's important to understand that the term "statute" specifically refers to laws made by legislators, as opposed to laws derived from other sources like court decisions, which are often termed "case law."

Distinguishing Statute from General Laws

When comparing a statute to law in general, the distinction is primarily about the source and formality. All statutes are laws, but not all laws are statutes. Laws can come into existence through various avenues: through the creation of statutes, regulations promulgated by government agencies, or through precedents established by court decisions, known as case law. Statutes are just one type of law – those that have been formally written and passed by a legislative body.

Understanding statutes and their place within the legal system is paramount for navigating legal obligations and rights. They form the bedrock of legislative intent and provide a structured approach to governing a wide array of societal issues. For those seeking to comprehend their legal environment, recognizing the importance and role of statutes is a fundamental step.

What are some examples of statute in legal contracts?

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