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Not to be confused with statue.
Statute of Grand Duchy of Lithuania, written in Polish

A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative authority that governs a state, city, or country.[1] Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare policy.[1] The word is often used to distinguish law made by legislative bodies from case law, decided by courts, and regulations issued by government agencies.[1] Statutes are sometimes referred to as legislation or "black letter law." As a source of law, statutes are considered primary authority (as opposed to secondary authority).

Ideally all statutes must be in harmony with the fundamental law of the land (constitutional).

This word is used in contradistinction to the common law. Statutes acquire their force from the time of their passage, however unless otherwise provided. Statutes are of several kinds; namely, Public or private. Declaratory or remedial. Temporary or perpetual. A temporary statute is one which is limited in its duration at the time of its enactment. It continues in force until the time of its limitation has expired, unless sooner repealed. A perpetual statute is one for the continuance of which there is no limited time, although it may not be expressly declared to be so. If, however, a statute which did not itself contain any limitation is to be governed by another which is temporary only, the former will also be temporary and dependent upon the existence of the latter.[2]

Before a statute becomes law in some countries, it must be agreed upon by the highest executive in the government, and finally published as part of a code. In many countries, statutes are organized in topical arrangements (or "codified") within publications called codes, such as the United States Code. In many nations statutory law is distinguished from and subordinate to constitutional law.

Alternative meanings[edit]

International law[edit]

The term statute is also used to refer to an International treaty that establishes an institution, such as the Statute of the European Central Bank, a protocol to the international courts as well, such as the Statute of the International Court of Justice and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Statute is also another word for law. The term was adapted from England in about the 18th century.

Autonomy Statute[edit]

In the Autonomous Communities of Spain, the autonomy statute is a legal document similar to a state constitution in a federated state. The autonomies statutes in Spain have the rank of "Ley Organica", a category of special laws reserved only for the main institutions and issues and mentioned in the Constitution (the highest ranking legal instrument in Spain). Leyes Organicas rank between the Constitution and ordinary laws. The name was chosen, among others, to avoid confusion with the term Constitution (i.e. the Spanish Constitution of 1978).

Religious statutes[edit]

Biblical terminology[edit]

In biblical terminology, statute (Hebrew chok) refers to a law given without any reason or justification. The classic example is the statute regarding the Red Heifer.

The opposite of a chok is a mishpat, a law given for a specified reason, e.g. the Sabbath laws, which were given because "God created the world in six days, but on the seventh day He rested". (Genesis 2:2-3)


That which upholds, supports or maintains the regulatory order of the universe meaning the Law or Natural Law. This is a concept of central importance in Indian philosophy and religion.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Black, Henry Campbell (1990). Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition. West Publishing. p. 1410. ISBN 0-314-76271-X. 
  2. ^ Bouvier Law Dictionary, Revised Sixth Edition, 1856

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statute — Please support Wikipedia.
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23843 news items

Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:11:15 -0700

KATHMANDU, August 19: At a time when the Constituent Assembly (CA) is expediting efforts to settle the sticking points including those pertaining to state restructuring, UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has ruled out the possibility of ...

New York Times

New York Times
Mon, 11 Aug 2014 08:35:49 -0700

The primary goal of the statute was to overhaul the banking system by getting rid of the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation, which had run out of money, and expand the power of regulators to protect against abuses by insiders who often ...
Mon, 18 Aug 2014 09:40:01 -0700

An expired statute of limitations would have prevented the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office from investigating an allegation of sexual abuse involving a priest and a minor even if the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh had not waited 11 years to ...
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Fri, 15 Aug 2014 17:11:15 -0700

Norma Torres, D-Chino, suspends the statute of limitations until the discovery of the offense and applies to the crimes of giving or offering a bribe to a public official or public employee, or for asking for, receiving, or agreeing to receive a bribe ...
Mon, 18 Aug 2014 01:47:04 -0700

Fed democratic statute will be promulgated on Jan 22: M Rijal. RSS. BIRATNAGAR, Aug 18: Minister for Information and Communications, Dr Minendra Rijal, has said the country would get a federal democratic constitution on January 22, 2015. Talking to ...
Sun, 17 Aug 2014 23:56:15 -0700

KATHMANDU, Aug 18: In a bid to urge top political parties to arrive at consensus on the major contentious issues of the new constitution, Chairman of the Constitution Assembly(CA) Subas Nemang hold talks with heads of the CPN-UML, Nepali Congress and ...
Bloomberg BNA
Mon, 11 Aug 2014 08:12:24 -0700

6 — Argentina's new do not call statute (Law No. 26951), which was enacted to protect land line and mobile phone users from unsolicited telemarketing calls, was finalized Aug. 5 upon its publication in the official gazette. The bill, which creates a ...
Mon, 18 Aug 2014 02:00:00 -0700

PM Koirala, UCPN (Maoist) Chair Dahal discuss new statute. RSS. KATHMANDU, Aug 18: Chairman of the UCPN (Maoist) Pushpa Kamal Dahal has called on Prime Minister Sushil Koirala at the latter´s residence at Baluwatar today. In the meeting, issues ...

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