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What is the difference between policy and law?

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Quick Answer

A policy is a principle that guides decision making, while a law is a rule enforced by an institution. Although laws and policies serve different purposes, ETU explains that both are used to maintain order in society. Laws and policies are used to shape many of the social and political aspects of society.

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Full Answer

A policy is the outline for a goal that an institution intends to accomplish. A law is an established procedure or standard that must be followed by members of society. Policies are used to guide the decisions of an organization or institution, while laws are used to implement justice and order. A policy is informal in nature and is typically a document that states the intentions of an institution, while laws are more formal in nature and are used to offer equity in society, as explained by ETU.

In some cases, policy is used to create new laws, according to ETU. However, current policy must always comply with existing laws. Although these two aspects of society are interrelated, each has a distinct function. Laws are enforced by the penalties of the judicial system and help regulate the actions of members in society. There are several types of laws, which include civil law, criminal law and international law.

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