Ask Difference

Bylaw vs. Law — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on October 28, 2023
"Bylaw" refers to rules made by an organization or community, while "Law" denotes a system of rules enforced by a country or state. Both guide behavior, but differ in scope and enforcement.
Bylaw vs. Law — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Bylaw and Law

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Key Differences

"Bylaw" and "Law" are both concerned with guiding and regulating behavior, but they operate on different scales and have varied implications. A "Bylaw" is a rule or regulation adopted by an organization, corporation, or local authority. For instance, a homeowner's association might have bylaws dictating paint colors or lawn maintenance. On the other hand, a "Law" is a system of rules recognized by a country or state and enforced through governmental authority. Breaking a law typically has legal repercussions.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 28, 2023
Understanding the difference between "Bylaw" and "Law" is crucial. "Bylaws" are more localized and specific, tailored to the needs of a particular group or community. A city might enact bylaws regarding local park usage or noise restrictions. In contrast, "Laws" are broader, often applying to everyone within a jurisdiction. Federal laws in the U.S., for example, apply to all citizens regardless of where they reside.
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Oct 28, 2023
"Bylaws" are often about the internal governance of an entity. Corporations, clubs, and other entities have bylaws to manage operations, establish responsibilities, and dictate member behavior. Alternatively, "Laws" encompass wider societal concerns, like criminal activities or contractual obligations, and are implemented to maintain social order and protect citizens.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 28, 2023
Importantly, while "Bylaws" and "Laws" serve as behavioral guides, their enforcement mechanisms differ. Breaching a bylaw might lead to penalties or expulsion from an organization, but legal consequences are typically reserved for the violation of laws. Both, however, are essential in structuring behavior within their respective realms.
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Oct 28, 2023

Comparison Chart

Scope

Rules or regulations set by an organization, corporation, or local authority.
Rules recognized and enforced by a country or state.
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Applicability

Specific to members of a group, organization, or local community.
Applies to everyone within a jurisdiction.
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Purpose

Often about internal governance or specific community concerns.
Maintains social order, addresses wider societal concerns.
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Enforcement

Breaches might lead to penalties or expulsion from a group.
Violations often have legal consequences, including fines or imprisonment.
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Creation

Made by members of an organization or local authority.
Created through a legislative process and signed into force by governing bodies.
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Compare with Definitions

Bylaw

A written rule or standard within a particular group.
The guild has a bylaw stating all members must pay annual dues.
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Law

A statement that describes a consistent and universal relationship observed in nature.
Newton's first law of motion is often taught in physics classes.
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Bylaw

A rule made by a company or society to control its members.
The club's bylaw prohibits smoking on its premises.
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Law

A rule defining correct procedure or behavior in a specific field.
The basic laws of mathematics are foundational to more complex theories.
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Bylaw

A regulation made by a local authority.
The city's bylaw sets noise restrictions after 10 PM.
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Law

A principle used to ensure justice and fairness.
The rule of law ensures that everyone is treated equally before the law.
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Bylaw

An internal rule governing the administration of an organization.
According to the association's bylaw, meetings must be held quarterly.
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Law

Law is a system of rules created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior, with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate. It has been variously described as a science and the art of justice.
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Bylaw

A law or rule governing the internal affairs of an organization.
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Law

A rule of conduct or procedure established by custom, agreement, or authority.
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Bylaw

A secondary law.
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Law

The body of rules and principles governing the affairs of a community and enforced by a political authority; a legal system
International law.
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Bylaw

A local custom or law of a settlement or district.
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Law

The condition of social order and justice created by adherence to such a system
A breakdown of law and civilized behavior.
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Bylaw

A rule made by a local authority to regulate its own affairs.
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Law

A set of rules or principles dealing with a specific area of a legal system
Tax law.
Criminal law.
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Bylaw

A law or rule governing the internal affairs of an organization (e.g., corporation or business).
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Law

A statute, ordinance, or other rule enacted by a legislature.
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Bylaw

A rule made by a local authority to regulate its own affairs
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Law

A judicially established legal requirement; a precedent.
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Bylaw

A directive used to guide the conduct of members within an entity.
The new bylaw limits the term of a committee chair to two years.
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Law

The system of judicial administration giving effect to the laws of a community
All citizens are equal before the law.
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Law

Legal action or proceedings; litigation
Submit a dispute to law.
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Law

An impromptu or extralegal system of justice substituted for established judicial procedure
Frontier law.
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Law

An agency or agent responsible for enforcing the law. Often used with the
"The law ... stormed out of the woods as the vessel was being relieved of her cargo" (Sid Moody).
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Law

(Informal) A police officer. Often used with the.
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Law

The science and study of law; jurisprudence.
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Law

Knowledge of law.
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Law

The profession of an attorney.
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Law

Something, such as an order or a dictum, having absolute or unquestioned authority
The commander's word was law.
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Law

A body of principles or precepts held to express the divine will, especially as revealed in the Bible.
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Law

The first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures.
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Law

A code of principles based on morality, conscience, or nature.
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Law

A rule or custom generally established in a particular domain
The unwritten laws of good sportsmanship.
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Law

A way of life
The law of the jungle.
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Law

A statement describing a relationship observed to be invariable between or among phenomena for all cases in which the specified conditions are met
The law of gravity.
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Law

A generalization based on consistent experience or results
The law of supply and demand.
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Law

(Mathematics) A general principle or rule that is assumed or that has been proven to hold between expressions.
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Law

A principle of organization, procedure, or technique
The laws of grammar.
The laws of visual perspective.
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Law

(usually with "the") The body of binding rules and regulations, customs, and standards established in a community by its legislative and judicial authorities.
The courts interpret the law but should not make it.
In theory, entrapment is against the law.
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Law

The body of such rules that pertain to a particular topic.
Property law
Commercial hunting and fishing law
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Law

Common law, as contrasted with equity.
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Law

A binding regulation or custom established in a community in this way.
There is a law against importing wallabies.
A new law forbids driving on that road.
The court ruled that the executive order was not law and nullified it.
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Law

(more generally) A rule, such as:
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Law

Any rule that must or should be obeyed, concerning behaviours and their consequences. mores.}}
"Do unto others as you wish them to do unto you" is a good law to follow.
The law of self-preservation
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Law

A rule or principle regarding the construction of language or art.
The laws of playwriting and poetry
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Law

A statement (in physics, etc) of an (observed, established) order or sequence or relationship of phenomena which is invariable under certain conditions. theory.}}
The laws of thermodynamics
Newton's third law of motion states that to every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction.
This is one of several laws derived from his general theory expounded in the Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica.
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Law

A statement (of relation) that is true under specified conditions; a mathematical or logical rule.
Mathematical laws can be proved purely through mathematics, without scientific experimentation.
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Law

Any statement of the relation of acts and conditions to their consequences.
The law of scarcity
The law of supply and demand
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Law

(linguistics) A sound law; a regular change in the pronunciation of a language.
Grimm's law
Dahl's law
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Law

(cricket) One of the official rules of cricket as codified by the its (former) governing body, the MCC.
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Law

The control and order brought about by the observance of such rules.
They worked to maintain law and order.
It was a territory without law, marked by violence.
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Law

(informal) A person or group that act(s) with authority to uphold such rules and order (for example, one or more police officers).
Here comes the law — run!
Then the law arrived on the scene
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Law

The profession that deals with such rules (as lawyers, judges, police officers, etc).
He is studying for a career in law.
She has practiced law in New York for twenty years.
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Law

Jurisprudence, the field of knowledge which encompasses these rules.
She went to university to study law.
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Law

Litigation; legal action (as a means of maintaining or restoring order, redressing wrongs, etc).
They were quick to go to law.
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Law

An allowance of distance or time (a head start) given to a weaker (human or animal) competitor in a race, to make the race more fair.
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Law

(aviation) A mode of operation of the flight controls of a fly-by-wire aircraft.
Normal law; alternate law; direct law
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Law

(fantasy) One of two metaphysical forces ruling the world in some fantasy settings, also called order, and opposed to chaos.
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Law

An oath sworn before a court, especially disclaiming a debt. wager of law", "wage one's law", "perform one's law", "lose one's law".}}
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Law

(obsolete) A tumulus of stones.
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Law

A hill.
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Law

A score; share of expense; legal charge.
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Law

(obsolete) To work as a lawyer; to practice law.
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Law

To prosecute or sue (someone), to litigate.
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Law

(nonstandard) To rule over (with a certain effect) by law; to govern.
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Law

(informal) To enforce the law.
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Law

To subject to legal restrictions.
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Law

(dated) An exclamation of mild surprise; lawks.
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Law

In general, a rule of being or of conduct, established by an authority able to enforce its will; a controlling regulation; the mode or order according to which an agent or a power acts.
These are the statutes and judgments and laws, which the Lord made.
The law of thy God, and the law of the King.
As if they would confine the Interminable . . . Who made our laws to bind us, not himself.
His mind his kingdom, and his will his law.
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Law

In morals: The will of God as the rule for the disposition and conduct of all responsible beings toward him and toward each other; a rule of living, conformable to righteousness; the rule of action as obligatory on the conscience or moral nature.
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Law

The Jewish or Mosaic code, and that part of Scripture where it is written, in distinction from the gospel; hence, also, the Old Testament.
What things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law . . . But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.
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Law

An organic rule, as a constitution or charter, establishing and defining the conditions of the existence of a state or other organized community.
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Law

In philosophy and physics: A rule of being, operation, or change, so certain and constant that it is conceived of as imposed by the will of God or by some controlling authority; as, the law of gravitation; the laws of motion; the law heredity; the laws of thought; the laws of cause and effect; law of self-preservation.
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Law

In mathematics: The rule according to which anything, as the change of value of a variable, or the value of the terms of a series, proceeds; mode or order of sequence.
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Law

In arts, works, games, etc.: The rules of construction, or of procedure, conforming to the conditions of success; a principle, maxim; or usage; as, the laws of poetry, of architecture, of courtesy, or of whist.
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Law

Collectively, the whole body of rules relating to one subject, or emanating from one source; - including usually the writings pertaining to them, and judicial proceedings under them; as, divine law; English law; Roman law; the law of real property; insurance law.
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Law

Legal science; jurisprudence; the principles of equity; applied justice.
Reason is the life of the law; nay, the common law itself is nothing else but reason.
Law is beneficence acting by rule.
And sovereign Law, that state's collected willO'er thrones and globes elate,Sits empress, crowning good, repressing ill.
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Law

Trial by the laws of the land; judicial remedy; litigation; as, to go law.
When every case in law is right.
He found law dear and left it cheap.
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Law

An oath, as in the presence of a court.
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Law

An exclamation of mild surprise.
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Law

Legal document setting forth rules governing a particular kind of activity;
There is a law against kidnapping
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Law

The collection of rules imposed by authority;
Civilization presupposes respect for the law
The great problem for jurisprudence to allow freedom while enforcing order
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Law

A generalization that describes recurring facts or events in nature;
The laws of thermodynamics
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Law

A rule or body of rules of conduct inherent in human nature and essential to or binding upon human society
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Law

The learned profession that is mastered by graduate study in a law school and that is responsible for the judicial system;
He studied law at Yale
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Law

The force of policemen and officers;
The law came looking for him
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Law

The branch of philosophy concerned with the law and the principles that lead courts to make the decisions they do
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Law

A system of rules recognized by a particular country or community.
The law requires everyone to pay taxes.
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Law

Legislation passed by a governing body.
The new law about data privacy has impacted many online businesses.
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Common Curiosities

How does a Law differ from a Bylaw?

A "Law" is enforced by a country or state, while a "Bylaw" is specific to an organization or local community.
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Who enforces Laws?

Laws are enforced by governmental agencies and the judiciary system.
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What is a Bylaw?

A "Bylaw" is a rule or regulation set by an organization, corporation, or local authority.
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Can a city have Bylaws?

Yes, cities often have bylaws addressing local concerns like park usage or noise restrictions.
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Are Bylaws legally binding?

Bylaws are binding for members of the organization, but they don't have the same legal weight as laws.
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What's the main purpose of a Law?

The main purpose of a law is to maintain social order and protect citizens.
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What happens if you break a Bylaw?

Breaching a bylaw might result in penalties or expulsion from a group or organization.
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How are laws created?

Laws are created through a legislative process and signed into force by governing bodies.
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Are all laws universally applicable within a country?

While many laws are nationally applicable, there are also state-specific laws in federal systems.
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Can a club or society have its own Bylaws?

Yes, clubs or societies often have bylaws to guide member behavior and manage operations.
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Can a Law be changed?

Yes, laws can be changed or repealed through the legislative process.
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Can an individual create a Bylaw?

Typically, bylaws are created collectively by members or leaders of an organization.
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Why do organizations need Bylaws?

Bylaws provide structure, establish responsibilities, and dictate procedures within an organization.
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Oct 28, 2023

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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