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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 It continues in force until the time of its limitation has expired, unless sooner repealed.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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26596 news items

Middle East Monitor

Jewish Telegraphic Agency
Sun, 31 Aug 2014 13:26:15 -0700

(JTA) — “Palestine” is now eligible to join the Rome Statute and file war crimes charges against Israel, the International Criminal Court prosecutor said. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Aug. 29 wrote an Op-Ed in the British newspaper The Guardian to ...
Yahoo Sports (blog)
Sun, 31 Aug 2014 16:03:45 -0700

WACO, TX - AUGUST 31: A statue of former Baylor Bears quarterback Robert Griffin III at McLane Stadium on August 31, 2014 in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images). Not only is Baylor officially opening a new stadium Sunday night, it also ...
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Mon, 01 Sep 2014 03:30:00 -0700

KATHMANDU, SEP 01 - Minister for Information and Communications Minendra Rijal said that a new constitution could not be drafted unless the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML stand as one. Receiving a memorandum from the Press Chautari Nepal ...
Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette
Sun, 31 Aug 2014 05:03:14 -0700

Q: I've paid a closed credit card account for several years, but I still owe over $1,000. I'm 70 years old, on a fixed income and don't own any real estate, so I don't see how I'll ever pay this off. What can I do? Should I declare bankruptcy? Will the ...
Sun, 31 Aug 2014 23:50:41 -0700

UML heavyweights dwell on HLPC, statute issues. MANI DAHAL. KATHMANDU, Sept 1: The office bearers of the CPN-UML are holding a meeting at its parliamentary party office in Singha Durbar on Monday. The meeting to be held under the chairmanship of ...


Thu, 21 Aug 2014 09:01:29 -0700

Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis is pushing women's rights issues in the final months of her campaign, attempting to capitalize on the very issue that gave her national notoriety. On Wednesday, Davis, a Democratic state senator, called for an ...

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Fri, 22 Aug 2014 16:57:38 -0700

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On Thursday, the Tax Court held that gross income for purposes of Sec. 6501(e) statute of limitation calculations includes only the gain from the sale of investments and not the amount realized from their sale (Barkett, 143 T.C. No. 6 (8/28/14)). The ...

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