Human beings are gregarious and social beings who coexist with other members of their own species. But coexistence is a bit complex, Especially when it happens in a large number of people who have their own needs, motivations and goals. In order to ensure respect for the rights of its members and to be able to organize, it is necessary to establish rules on the activity and behavior of each of the individuals who make up the group. These regulations can take different forms.
In this article we will talk about precisely the differences between the law and the norm, Two of the main types of regulations that significantly influence our conduct.
The law and the rule
Before we talk about the differences between the two concepts, let’s start by presenting a brief definition of each of them to understand the similarities and see why they cannot be considered the same.
We understand that as a general rule socially established and enforced regulation or principle that indicates expected behavior or necessary in certain situations. This is a social convention that does not necessarily have to be true or obey in all cases, although it depends on the type of rule and its legal consideration. Its main function is to indicate and regulate the activity of the human being so that he adapts to what is socially accepted.
There are a variety of types of rules with different considerations, such as moral or legal. Failure to comply with this instruction may result in a form of punishment, Depending on the situation.
As for the concept of law, this type of regulation presupposes the construction of a rule or norm considered legal and which has been established by the authority in order to put certain limits on the conduct admitted in the company at the same time as the right to act in its margins. Failure to comply with this rule will always be prosecuted and punished. This applies to all citizens.
Considering the definition of each of the concepts, we can see that there is a connection between them. In fact, the law is seen as a type of legal, binding norm. But in spite of this the two concepts present a series of peculiarities which make that, unless it is specified that we speak of a legal norm, cannot be considered that law and norm are equal.
Although in the previous brief definitions it is already possible to observe a large part of the differences between the law and the standard, we will see them more clearly below. It is important to note that in this section when we talk about standards, we will refer to non-legal standards.
One of the main differences between the law and the norm is the level of obligation with which those who are different from the population must comply with them.
In the case of the standard, whether or not it is mandatory will depend on its type and on the assessment made by those who must follow it. The rule itself only marks the expected behavior, however its rupture does not imply the commission of a crime (Although this may have consequences) unless we are talking about a legal rule.
In the case of the law and other types of legal norms, its fulfillment is obligatory, being its violation of a lack or a crime and generating the application of a sanction.
Who makes the regulation in question is, in most cases, a second difference between rule and law.
In general, one can consider that the norm is socially constructed and emanates from the majority opinion of a group or community or an individual with power or influence in a certain context. however, these rules must not have legal repercussions and they can even contravene what is established by law and, in some cases, punishable.
For example, a person may decide to set the rule that smoking is allowed in their bar, even though the law does not allow it. Despite this, many of these rules can be passed and incorporated later as laws.
As for the law, it is drafted and established by the legislature and must first be approved by Congress before it can be applied.
The target or purpose of the law and the rule may also differ. The law applies or should apply in all cases without exception, regulating the activity of all members of the same society without making any distinction. On the contrary, the rule can target a specific group of people or a very specific situation, being limited and partial.
People outside of this group will not be affected by it, Although they are part of the same community (for example, that one company does not allow its employees to wear tattoos or that they have to hide them does not imply that in another it can be authorized).
4. Flexibility and change
The level of change and flexibility that can be achieved when amending regulations or the extent to which they can be interpreted can also vary widely.
Rules can be reinterpreted and reworked with some ease, although changes in the perceptions of those who set them should be changed or introduced (which, if given at a small group level, can be easy, but if it is at the social level, it can be very difficult. and takes time). As for the laws, their interpretation is not so free and in case of wanting to modify them, it requires a procedure which can be complex, in addition to depending on the activity of the Administration.
5. Consequences of non-compliance
Failure to follow rules and laws can have a number of consequences. In the case of laws, there will always be some sanction, these penalties and sanctions being already determined in advance. In the case of rules, it is possible that there is no predetermined sanction for non-compliance or even that it does not include any, although it may sanction non-compliance by rejection. social or has also been established in advance. Consequences for the one who does it.
Also in science
Beyond the legal meaning, we can also see that the differences between law and norm are also found at the scientific level: The norm establishes the behavior or the usual way of occurring of some phenomenon without for this reason it is not necessarily obligatory that it be accomplished, whereas it is defined as law this theory which is realized in all the cases or at least of which he has had a consistency so far.