Election Glossary

We provide explanations and background information on elections, voting rights and digital democracy

Legal Norm

A legal norm is an official directive which contains binding rules for an indefinite number of people. 

Therefore, legal norms exist in the form of concrete legal regulations or as regulations of a general-abstract nature issued for the purposes of providing legal basis. These are abstract as they operate with a great number of facts; they are general because they apply to a great number of people. 

In the hierarchy of norms, regulations such as byelaws and and administrative rules are found under formal law.

Contents of legal norms
A legal norm contains matters of fact and legal consequences for an "if-then" relation. Such legal norms determines under which actual terms which legal result is to happen. When the matters of fact are confirmed, the legal consequences should apply. 

Legal normw mostly take on the form of prohibitions,  requirements, permissions or exemptions. 

Line between law and regulation
In practical terms, regulations equal law: both are abstract-general rules for an undetermined number of people within a certain sphere.  Regulations, as well as law, prescribe sanctioning powers, in case they are not adhered to.
In contrast to law, a regulation can be issued without a formal legislative procedure, if the correct power to do so is exhibited. In case of doubt, the legitimacy of a regulation has to be examined.

See also: Law, Regulation, Bylaws

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