What are bye-laws?

What are bye-laws? A bye-law can be defined as a law that is made by a local government authority for the purpose of governing the people who live within the local government’s area.

A bye-law can also be defined as the law made by an organization, club or association that people or members of the organization must abide by.

These laws are less superior to the general laws of a land (The Constitution) and are generally made by local government authorities, public corporations, and other statutory bodies for the sole purpose of governing a group of people within a particular area.

Bye-laws contain important things such as rules which tell members or people within their jurisdiction how to behave, what the laws are and what happens if someone breaks the rules.

Since the constitution is the highest law of the land, it goes without saying that bye-laws fall under the constitution and must be in line with the constitution of the land. Bye-laws cannot affect the entire citizens of a nation – they only affect only those in a particular organization or area.

Importance of bye-laws

Why are bye-laws made in the first place? There are so many reasons why bye-laws are made by authorities. Some of these reasons include the following:

  • Bye-laws are made in order to help maintain law and order in an organization, community, society etc.
  • Just like the constitution, bye-laws enable the people they govern to know their basic rights and responsibilities. The bye-laws do this by stating clearly the rights and responsibilities of the people that they govern.
  • Bye-laws help to regulate the lives of the people that they govern. These laws help to control the behavior of the people by giving them the rules and letting them know what will happen to any individual that goes contrary to the rules. This helps regulate the behavior of the people and helps move the organization or community forward.
  • Bye-laws contain the aspirations and goals of the people or members it governs and helps the society or area focus on these goals in order to achieve them.
  • The bye-laws of a society or organization state clearly how top officers and leaders are selected or chosen. These laws also clearly state their functions and limits to their powers in order to avoid any abuse of power. In a sense it also helps make the leaders accountable to the needs of the people or members of the organization or club.

Note: Is it bye-law or bylaw? Many times people get confused wondering which is the right spelling. But for your information, a bye-law can also be written as bylaw. The two spellings are interchangeable.