The word promulgation comes from the Latin word promulgare, which means "to publish." In law, promulgation, also known as enactment, is the act of officially and publicly announcing a new law, and this formal proclamation is what makes the law come into effect. Laws are promulgated to make both citizens and authorities officially aware of new laws. This type of law announcement is often done by the head of state or by the legislative assembly, and can be done either orally or in writing, usually in print but sometimes on official websites. According to some law philosophies, promulgation is the essence of law, meaning it is the most important part of lawmaking, while others think that the act of passing a law in the legislative assembly carries more weight.
How promulgation is carried out varies depending on the country, its constitution and conventions, and the specific jurisdiction. The type of law involved can also make a difference. An administrative law relates to how the government and its various administrative agencies operate, and includes rules and regulations implemented and enforced by such agencies. A statutory law, also called a statute or legislation, is almost always made by a legislative assembly and commonly applies to a country, region, or city. Usually, both kinds of laws require promulgation, though the procedure can differ.
The first step in the promulgation of a new law is usually that the head of state officially announces and accepts the law, commonly by formally signing it. In the United Kingdom, which is a monarchy, the monarch promulgates new laws. In Germany, a republic, the same duty is performed by the president. The next step in promulgation is often that the new law is published in an official publication of some kind. For example, in Canada, laws are published in the Canadian government's official journal, the Canada Gazette. In the United States, administrative laws are usually published in the Federal Register.
The act of promulgating a law is a formality in most countries, and the actual power to accept or reject laws rests solely with the legislative assembly. In Japan, for example, the emperor has to promulgate all laws passed by the country's legislative assembly. However, in some countries, the authority responsible for promulgating laws can decline to do so. This is the case in France, where the president promulgates laws but can ask the legislative assembly to reconsider a law, though this request can only be made once.