AskDefine | Define statute

Dictionary Definition

statute adj : enacted by a legislative body; "statute law"; "codified written laws" [syn: codified, statute(p)] n : an act passed by a legislative body [syn: legislative act]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /ˈstætʃuːt/, /"st

Extensive Definition

A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative authority that governs a country, state, city, or county. Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare policy. The word is often used to distinguish law made by legislative bodies from the judicial decisions of the common law and the regulations issued by Government agencies. 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).
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 the United States, statutory law is distinguished from and subordinate to constitutional law.

Alternative meanings

International law

The term statute is sometimes 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 Treaty of Maastricht. This includes 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.

Biblical terminology

In biblical terminology, a Statute (Hebrew chok) refers to a law given without a reason. The classic example is the Statute regarding the Red Heifer, which, legend has it, defied even the wisdom of King Solomon.
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)

Autonomy Statute

In the Autonomous Communities of Spain the Autonomy Statute is a legal document similar in all but name to a state constitution in a federal state. The name was chosen because federalism was a taboo subject when the constitution of 1978 was approved.
statute in German: Statut
statute in Hebrew: חוק
statute in Icelandic: Statúta
statute in Dutch: Statuten
statute in Japanese: 法律
statute in Norwegian: Statutt
statute in Malay (macrolanguage): Statut
statute in Polish: Ustawa
statute in Russian: нормативно-правовой акт
statute in Yiddish: געזעץ
statute in Chinese: 成文法

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Eighteenth Amendment, Prohibition Party, Volstead Act, act, assize, ban, bill, bylaw, canon, contraband, decree, decretum, denial, dictate, dictation, disallowance, edict, embargo, enactment, exclusion, forbiddance, forbidden fruit, forbidding, form, formality, formula, formulary, index, index expurgatorius, index librorum prohibitorum, inhibition, injunction, institution, interdict, interdiction, interdictum, jus, law, legislation, lex, measure, no-no, ordinance, ordonnance, precept, preclusion, prescript, prescription, prevention, prohibition, prohibitory injunction, proscription, refusal, regulation, rejection, repression, restrictive covenants, rubric, rule, ruling, ruling out, standing order, sumptuary laws, suppression, taboo, zoning, zoning laws
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