What Is Basic Law?

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  • Written By: Sarie Robertson
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 20 January 2020
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Basic law is a fundamental rule that a region follows when there is no constitution implemented. In contrast with ordinary law, basic laws typically lead to the establishment of a constitution. Many developed nations have worked with lawmakers to form documents that outline rules and regulations of the country, but some developing nations have not developed such criteria. In the process of migrating to constitutionalism, some developing governments have chosen to create laws that address the immediate needs of the people. These basic laws might address everything from proper livestock care to punishments for theft.

The central difference between basic law and other law forms is its weight in government. Although basic law is selected by a the majority vote like ordinary law, only basic law is taken into account when lawmakers are creating a constitution. The reasons for this might be because basic law is formally conducted in a democratic manner and ordinary law is not.

In contrast with its counterpart, an ordinary law is verbally agreed upon as an official rule. Basic law, on the other hand, is petitioned and placed on a ballot for everyone's approval. Whereas ordinary law can be limited to one territory of a region, basic law typically applies throughout the entire country.


As commonly accepted as it might be, the supremacy of basic law is constantly debated in some regions. Some individuals argue that basic law is inferior to legislation because of the majority vote requirement, but others argue that basic law is superior to legislation because it acts as a form of constitution until the actual document is established. Although its authority is often debated, basic law has been upheld over legislation in numerous court decisions in developing nations. Regardless of how this might affect the debate of supremacy, such action proves that the collective opinion of the general public can be significant in government.


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