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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 It continues in force until the time of its limitation has expired, unless sooner repealed.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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30339 news items

Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:45:00 -0700

WASHINGTON — During the past two years, the Obama administration has published hundreds and hundreds of rules — on how wheelchairs should be stowed aboard aircraft, how foreign trade zones should be regulated, how voting assistance should be ...
Mondaq News Alerts (registration)
Tue, 29 Jul 2014 01:03:45 -0700

Resolving a split between Federal Circuits regarding the applicability of the federal bank fraud statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1344(2), the United States Supreme Court in Loughrin v. United States has added significant teeth to the statute by ruling that the ...
Easton Courier
Tue, 29 Jul 2014 14:45:00 -0700

... stakeholders from the state's agricultural community to commemorate the passage of a new state law that protects the owners and handlers of domesticated horses from a recent court ruling by making it clear in state statute that the animals do not ...
National Review Online (blog)
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 08:56:15 -0700

I'll say right now that I'm not a Halbig guy. That is, I'm more interested in building the substantive case for rolling back and replacing Obamacare than on teasing apart the statute. I have enormous respect for Jonathan Adler and Michael Cannon, both ...

Arkansas Online (subscription)

Arkansas Online (subscription)
Sat, 26 Jul 2014 00:52:30 -0700

Death penalty statute backed. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's office Friday asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to overturn a lower court's ruling that struck down the state's death penalty statute as unconstitutional. Click here to login or subscribe ...
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 21:16:27 -0700

Children in the juvenile justice system often face different competency issues than adults in the criminal system. But Nevada currently lacks a statute to address competency issues among juveniles. Officials have used adult criminal procedures as a ...
Lexology (registration)
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 06:52:30 -0700

In Westbrook Dolphin Square Limited -v- Friends Life Limited [2014] EWHC 2433 (Ch) the High Court has paved the way for one commercial owner to compel the transfer of another's freehold property to it, by the process of collective enfranchisement.
Casper Star-Tribune Online
Sat, 26 Jul 2014 08:49:16 -0700

The letters from Ric Berry ("Dick Cheney should be nobody's role model," June 22) and Stan Shaw ("Put Liz Cheney in charge," June 24) about Dick and Liz Cheney need some rebuttal. Think of the good things the Bush and Cheney wars have done for ...

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