When we talk about permissive and prohibitive rules in Law we refer to a specific classification of legal norms, according to which a distinction is made between those that prevent or deny the possibility of carrying out something (prohibitive) and those that, on the contrary, recognize or clarify a right established (permissive). For example: the right to information, traffic regulations.
This classification is established, as is evident, based on the nature of the mandate that the regulations entail. A third possible category would be mandatory rules, which expressly order or command something or define the necessary requirements to carry it out.
The legal norms
A Legal standard It is a legal ordinance issued by some authority to order human behavior in society, that is, to impose duties and confer rights, and whose non-compliance usually leads to legal or juridical sanctions.
To that extent, every legal norm is:
- heteronomous. It is imposed by another, it comes from a social pact that takes place outside the subjectivity of the individual.
- coercive. The entire apparatus of the State, as well as public opinion and the gaze of the community, ensure compliance with legal norms. In fact, any individual can demand its compliance through the use of force.
- external. Compliance with the norm is required, regardless of whether or not the individual who complies with it is convinced of its convenience, or even regardless of whether or not they are aware of it.
In general, everything legal system It is expressed through a set of provisions or legal norms. Its role is to ensure that the common order is not broken, nor are the rules of coexistence abandoned.
Examples of permissive rules
- The right to identity. The legal provisions that provide people with access to a legal identity, their own documentation and a name, for example, obey a legal regulation that establishes said right for everyone equally and without exceptions.
- The right to property. One of the rights most ardently defended by capitalist society and also most questioned by left-wing thought, is contemplated in the legal regulations that allow an individual to privately own the goods that he can buy or inherit through legal and honest procedures. .
- The right to a fair trial. No individual guilty of a crime of any nature will be deprived of the right to legitimate defense and an adequate judicial process, in which their allegations are heard and they can defend their interests. The regulations that guarantee this form part of the so-called human rights and are, in theory, inalienable.
- The right to keep silence. This formula is very frequently invoked in police television series or detective films, when the antagonist is finally caught. This is a right common to all detainees, in which they are allowed to take refuge in silence until they have the presence of a lawyer.
- The right to participate politically. Any citizen who meets the age and legal status requirements set forth in the electoral code of their nation may participate in political elections when so provided, since there are legal regulations that allow it and that protect their right to choose political representation. that best deems convenient for your interests.
- The right to education. The citizens of the countries of the world have the right to receive an education that guarantees their entry into society and that transmits the values that it promotes. This is also part of the so-called human rights.
- The right to information. Citizens have the right to be informed about what is happening in their country through the means of communication they deem appropriate, regardless of their political tendency or their personal interests, and without others deciding for them what they can or should know. This legal norm is of special interest when evaluating the performance of both the media and state regulatory entities.
- The right to fair compensation for their work. Another fundamental right of man stipulates that everyone must receive a fair salary for their efforts and services, that is, fair compensation for their work, whatever it may be.
- The right to free transit. No one except the forces of public order, and having a just reason to do so, can prevent another person from freely moving through the territory of their nation. This legal norm is highlighted when it comes to the right to protest, for example, which often means closing streets and impeding automobile traffic.
- The right to protest. There are legal norms that ensure the freedom of each person to protest peacefully, without this translating into harm to their person, theirs or their tangible or intangible assets.
Examples of prohibitive regulations
- The prohibition of theft. The foundations of society as we understand it go through the understanding that goods are scarce and needs are infinite, so each individual must gain access to them: through work or capital. Hence, appropriating the property of others contravenes the very meaning of the distribution of work and common welfare and is expressly prohibited and legally penalized with jail.
- The ban on murder. Another of the fundamental prohibitions of life in society, the result of the monopoly of violence attributed to the State. No person should be able to end the life of another, except in cases of legitimate self-defense. Contravening this rule carries severe legal sanctions, such as years in prison or, in some countries, death itself.
- The prohibition of polygamy. While in some societies patriarchy became so entrenched that it led to the legalization of multiple marriages (a man can have several wives), in the West polygamy (being married to several people at the same time) is a crime punishable by law, since which is expressly prohibited.
- The protection of minors. Since the legal separation of children and adults, more or less in the 20th century, the protection of infants is legally expressed in the prohibition of having romantic or erotic relationships with them, in the prohibition of child labor and another series of measures prohibitive of that nature.
- The ban on nudity. Except in intimate, medical or artistic settings, in our societies nudity and indecent acts must be carried out outside the public space. It is forbidden to show yourself without clothes on the street, for example.
- Traffic regulations. The automotive traffic regulations of the countries contemplate the laws to comply with when in charge of a vehicle, which includes several prohibitions, such as driving in the opposite direction to that indicated, parking in prohibited areas or driving without the appropriate permits.
- The ban on smoking. Very much in force at the end of the 20th century, the legal norms that prohibit smoking cigarettes and tobacco in public spaces such as airports or inside restaurants have spread to most Western countries, since this habit represents a detriment to the health not only of the smoker, but of bystanders.
- The penalty of infidelity. Although it is a matter of a moral nature and not a legal one, and no person will go to prison for having been unfaithful to their partner, there are legal regulations that contemplate infidelity as a cause for divorce, for which it is tacitly prohibited.
- The ban on fraud. Taking money from others through deceptive or fraudulent mechanisms is also a crime punishable by law, since it contravenes the good faith that the laws promote in all types of commercial transactions.
- The abortion ban. This is a very controversial issue in Western societies, since various feminist and women’s rights groups demand permissive norms to regulate the legal interruption of a pregnancy, but the most conservative sectors of society defend prohibitive norms, which establish sanctions even prison for women who incur in this practice.