The 5 differences between law and norm

The 5 differences between law and norm

The human being is a gregarious and social being that coexists with other members of the same species. But coexistence is something complex, especially when it occurs among a large number of people who have their own needs, motivations and objectives. It is necessary, in order to ensure that the rights of its members are respected and to be able to organize, to establish some regulations to the activity and behavior of each of the individuals that make up the group. These regulations can have different forms.

In this article, we are going to talk precisely about the differences between law and norm, two of the main types of regulations that significantly influence our behavior.

The law and the norm

Before going on to talk about the differences between both concepts, we will, first of all, establish a brief definition of each of them to understand the similarities and visualize why they can not be considered the same.

We understand by regulation that regulation or socially established and imposed principle that indicates the expected or necessary behavior in certain situations. It is a social convention that does not necessarily have to be true or be obeyed in all cases, although it depends on the type of norm and its legal consideration. Its main function is to indicate and regulate the activity of the human being so that it adapts to the socially accepted.

There are a great variety of types of norms with different consideration, such as moral or legal ones. Failure to comply may result in some type of punishment, depending on the situation.

With regard to the concept of law, this type of regulation involves the construction of a rule or rule considered legal and that has been established by the authority in order to set certain limits to the conduct allowed in society at the same time as the right to act within its margins. Your breach will always be prosecuted and punished. It applies to the whole of citizenship.

Given the definition of each of the concepts, we can see that there is some link between them. In fact, the law is considered a type of legal norm, mandatory. But despite this, both concepts present a series of particularities that make it impossible, unless it is specified that we are talking about a legal norm, that the law and norm are equal.

Main differences

Although in the brief previous definitions it is already possible to observe a large part of the differences between law and norm, we will now see them more clearly. It is important to bear in mind that in this section when we speak of the norm we will refer to non-legal norms.

1. Obligatory

One of the main differences between law and norm is found in the level of obligatory nature with which the different subjects that form part of the population have to follow them.

In the case of the norm, the fact that it is obligatory or not will depend on its type and on the evaluation made by it of who is to follow it. The norm in itself only marks the expected behavior, but its breaking does not imply incurring in crime (although it can have consequences) unless we are talking about a legal norm.

In the case of the law and other types of legal norms, compliance is mandatory, resulting in a breach of a fault or crime and generating the application of a penalty.

2. Provenance

Who establishes the regulation in question is, in most cases, a second difference between norm and law.

In a general way, we can consider that the norm is socially constructed and emanates from the majority opinion of a group or community or of an individual with power or influence in a certain context. However, these regulations do not have to have legal repercussions and may even contravene what is established by law, being in some cases punishable.

For example, a person can decide to put the rule that you can smoke in your bar, although the law does not allow it. Despite this, many of these rules can be voted on and later incorporated as laws.

As for the law, it is drawn up and established by the legislature and must be previously approved by Congress before it can be applied.

3. Target

The target or objective of the law and norm may also differ. The law applies or should be applied in all cases without exception, regulating the activity of all members of the same company without making distinctions. By contrast, the norm can be addressed to a specific group of people or to a very specific situation, being limited and partial.

People outside this group will not be affected by it, even if they are part of the same community (for example, that a company does not allow its employees to carry tattoos or that they have to hide them does not imply that in another it may be allowed).

4. Flexibility and change

The level of change and flexibility that can be had when modifying regulations or the degree to which they can be interpreted can also vary greatly.

According to many educational platforms like best college coursework writing UK, the norms can be reinterpreted and reworked with certain ease, although it would be necessary to modify or introduce changes in the perception of those that establish it (what if given at the level of a small group can be easy but if it is at a social level it can entail a great difficulty and a lot of time). As regards the laws, their interpretation is not so free and in case of wanting to modify them, it requires a procedure that can be complex, as well as depending on the activity of the Administration.

5. Consequences for non-compliance

Failure to comply with both regulations and laws can lead to a series of consequences. In the case of laws, there will always be a sanction of some kind, and these penalties and sanctions are already determined in advance. In the case of standards, it is possible that there is no pre-established punishment for non-compliance or even that it does not imply any, although such non-compliance can be punished through social rejection or some consequences have been established in advance for those who do so.

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