Because of space limitations, I need a concise way to say

laws and regulations

Would "statutes" work?

(If you need more context, I am citing both IDEA and New York State Commissioner Regulations Part 200.)

  • The term statute specifically denotes legislation, and therefore excludes regulations.
    – phoog
    Jan 17, 2017 at 8:08
  • @phoog - Okay, statute doesn't work. Is there a word that will work? Right now, in my draft, I have "these texts" (after a long sentence about IDEA and another long sentence about Part 200). Is there a better word I can use to refer to both the law and the regs? Jan 17, 2017 at 15:53
  • The word "law" embraces caselaw, statutes and regulations, but statute means a law that is enacted by a legislature and does not include regulations or case law.
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 18, 2017 at 0:56
  • @ohwilleke - So is there a word I could have used in place of "texts"? Jan 18, 2017 at 1:25
  • "Sources of law" or "Legal authority" or "Authority" or "Legal basis"
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 18, 2017 at 1:27

1 Answer 1


It's not clear why you have such a need, but I understand the underlying terminological issue. Legislative bodies pass laws, that is, there are bills approved by the legislative body. You can abstract out of the language of a bill certain text that is "the statute", and usually you can determine what that stuff is by looking at the consolidated "code" – though not in New York. Some of that which is enacted by a legislative body is language allowing administrative authorities to construct "regulations" (broadly construed). At the federal level, there is a quirky usage difference between "rule" and "regulation" having to do with whether the thing is about how the agency operates, vs. what people (e.g. businesses) must not do. Usually, we just call them all "regulations", though the agencies will talk about "the final rule" – basically the same thing. There is a third thing that pertains to "law", and that is legal precedent – principles established by appeals courts.

All of that stuff is "law". If you need to distinguish types, you can refer to "statutory law", "case law" or "regulations" (perhaps "regulatory law" but that might confuse the reader). However, there is a popular understanding that only statutory law is "law". So whether you effectively communicate with just the word "law" depends on the level of legal and political sophistication of your audience.

  • I got a bit confused. // I am citing both IDEA and New York State Commissioner Regulations Part 200. IDEA is the law underpinning special education. It was most recently approved by Congress in approximately 2004. It directs the states to create regulations. In NY, those are called "Part 200." I make specific quotes in my document, with precise citations. That's all fine. But then I want to write a simple sentence encompassing both citations. The audience couldn't be more sophisticated: State Review Officer. Jan 16, 2017 at 18:50

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