Which Type of Law Is Also Known as the Law on the Books

Which Type of Law Is Also Known as the Law on the Books?


In the world of legal systems, there are various types of laws that govern societies. One particular type, known as the “law on the books,” refers to the laws that are formally written and enacted by legislative bodies. These laws hold significant importance and shape the legal landscape of a country. In this article, we will explore the concept of the law on the books, its characteristics, and its role in modern legal systems.

Understanding the Law on the Books:

The law on the books, also known as statutory law, refers to legislation that has been enacted by a legislative body, such as a parliament or congress. These laws are officially written and codified, addressing various aspects of societal conduct and governance. Statutory laws are typically created to maintain order, protect public interests, and regulate the behavior of individuals within a society.

Characteristics of the Law on the Books:

1. Written Form: The law on the books is characterized by its written form. These laws are documented, recorded, and made available for public access. They are usually found in official legal codes or compilations, ensuring consistency and clarity in their application.

2. Legislative Enactment: The law on the books is created and enacted by a legislative body. This process involves the proposal, debate, and voting on potential legislation. Once a bill is approved, it becomes law and is enforceable within the jurisdiction.

3. Binding Nature: The law on the books is binding on individuals and entities within the jurisdiction where it is enacted. Violation of these laws can result in legal consequences, such as fines, imprisonment, or other penalties, depending on the severity of the offense.

4. Precedence and Hierarchy: Statutory laws often possess a hierarchical structure within legal systems. Some laws may take priority over others, and their interpretation can be influenced by legal principles and precedents set by higher courts.

5. Amendments and Repeals: The law on the books is not static; it can be amended, modified, or repealed over time. Legislative bodies have the authority to introduce changes to existing laws or abolish them altogether to reflect evolving societal needs and values.

FAQs about the Law on the Books:

Q1. What is the difference between the law on the books and the law in action?
A1. The law on the books refers to formally enacted legislation, while the law in action refers to how these laws are implemented, enforced, and interpreted in practice.

Q2. Are all laws on the books enforced equally?
A2. In reality, the enforcement of laws can vary due to resource constraints, priorities, or discretion of law enforcement agencies. However, in an ideal legal system, laws should be enforced equally.

Q3. How do statutory laws interact with other types of laws?
A3. Statutory laws interact with other types of laws, such as constitutional law, administrative law, and common law. These different types of laws often complement and influence each other within a legal framework.

Q4. Can the law on the books be challenged or invalidated?
A4. Yes, the law on the books can be challenged in courts if it is believed to be unconstitutional or conflicting with higher laws. Courts have the power to interpret and strike down laws that are deemed inconsistent with the fundamental principles of a legal system.


The law on the books, also known as statutory law, constitutes an essential aspect of legal systems worldwide. It embodies the formally written legislation enacted by legislative bodies, ensuring order, protecting public interests, and regulating societal behavior. Understanding the law on the books is crucial for comprehending the legal landscape of a country and our rights and obligations within it. While laws may evolve and change over time, the law on the books remains a cornerstone of legal systems, providing a framework for justice and governance.

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