Difference between Norm and Law

Norms are rules of conduct that seek to guarantee order and harmony within a society or organization. The standards are expected to be followed by all members. There are social, moral, religious and legal norms. A law is a type of legal norm.

What differentiates laws from other types of rules is that their compliance is not optional, every individual who lives in a certain society must comply with the laws if he does not want to be fined, or arrested for violating the law.

  • Rule. It is a necessary or expected behavior among the members of a certain country, society, community or organization (football club, restaurant, home for the elderly). For instance: OROne of the club’s rules for the use of the pool is to wear a hat and goggles; a social norm is to say “thank you” and “please. In many cases, these rules (as long as they are not legal) are not written or detailed in a document, but are transmitted from generation to generation and are known to all.
  • Law. It is a type of legal norm that establishes behaviors, they can be prohibitive or permissive norms, which every member of society must comply with. The laws are applied equally to all members to regulate the order and coexistence of society. For instance: In Mexico, smoking is prohibited by law in closed public spaces such as shopping malls and nightclubs. Laws are sanctioned by the State, are written and detailed in a constitution or code. Non-compliance with the law implies penalties.

Characteristics of the standards

  • There are social norms, moral norms, religious norms. Failure to comply with these tends to generate rejection by the community or social group.
  • They facilitate coexistence in a group.
  • This type of norm cannot go against the legal norms.
  • They can vary over time.
  • They are found in almost all areas in which a person operates.
  • Many times the social, moral or religious conduct coincide with the content of the laws.
  • They seek to promote a harmonious coexistence among members, always aligned with the values ​​of the institution, community or society to which they respond.

Characteristics of the laws

  • They depend on each country or nation. There are provincial or departmental laws, that is, laws that only apply in a part of the territory and not in its entirety.
  • They grant rights and obligations.
  • They are established by the competent authority of a region or country, for example: Legislative Power.
  • In addition to the laws, there are other legal norms such as decrees or regulations.
  • They must be complied with even if you do not agree with them.
  • They can be repealed by laws enacted later.
  • These are usually bilateral rules and in the strict sense.

Examples of standards

Religious norms

  1. Remain silent and turn off your mobile phone when entering a church.
  2. Respect religious symbols.
  3. For Catholicism, go to mass on Sundays.
  4. Respect the days of fasting and abstinence.
  5. For Judaism, do not eat pork.

Moral standards

  1. Not lie.
  2. Treat others with respect.
  3. Do not discriminate on the basis of creed, sex or race.
  4. Respect the diversity of opinions.
  5. Give priority in the ranks to pregnant women and people with disabilities.
  6. Help someone who asks for help on public roads.

Social norms

  1. Respect the line at the bank or supermarket.
  2. Don’t scream at the movies.
  3. Cover your mouth when sneezing and yawning.
  4. Give right of way to pedestrians.
  5. Do not push other passengers on public transport.

Examples of laws

  1. Law that obliges the parties to fulfill a contract.
  2. Law that requires the payment of taxes.
  3. Law that penalizes robbery or theft in public and private spaces.
  4. Law that prohibits the carrying of firearms without an enabling license.
  5. Law that guarantees private property.
  6. Laws that guarantee the correct flow of traffic in a city.
  7. Law that protects national parks and monuments.
  8. Law that protects the health and integrity of all children.
  9. Law that enables mining activity.
  10. Law that protects freedom of expression.
  • More examples in: Social, moral, legal and religious norms