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Laws and Regulations

Legal independence is the core value of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). Laws and Regulations are indispensable parts of this core value. So, what is the difference between 'Law' and 'Regulation'?

Laws: The products of written statutes, passed by the legislatures. The legislatures create bills that, when passed by a vote, become statutory laws.

Regulations: The standards and rules adopted by administrative agencies that govern how laws will be enforced.

Both of them are codified and published so that parties are on notice regarding what is and isn't legal. And regulations often have the same force as laws because without them the regulatory agencies wouldn't be able to enforce laws.

Functions of Regulations

1. As a specific set of commands: the promulgation of a binding set of rules to be applied by a body devoted to this purpose.

2. As deliberate state influence: all state actions that are designed to influence business or social behaviour e.g. command-based regimes, other modes of influence such as use of economic incentives (taxes or subsidies).

3. As all forms of social or economic influence: where all mechanisms affecting behaviour - whether these be state-based or from other sources (e.g. markets) - are deemed regulatory. By state institutions or host of other bodies including corporations etc.

4. An activity that restricts behaviour and prevents the occurrence of certain undesirable activities, may also be enabling or facilitative.

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