The word decree comes from the Latin language decrētum which means “sentence or final order” and indicates authority over something or matter. It is related to everything that has to do with authority and with the different provisions that have been issued by a higher entity.

What is a decree?

A decree is any type of provision of an administrative nature that is issued by some type of authority or higher power which is composed at the same time of a series of rules and regulations .

  • Decree definition
  • Characteristics
  • Source
  • What is it for
  • Types
  • Parts of a decree
  • How is it approved
  • Regulation by country
  • How does a royal decree differ from a decree law
  • What is a supreme decree
  • How it differs from a law
  • Importance
  • Examples

Decree definition

The decree, also known as a law decree , is a type of action of an administrative nature that comes from the executive branch in which there is normative and regulatory content . It is a provision that is composed of a series of rules and regulations and, depending on the legislation that a country has, the decree can be issued directly by the President of the Republic , by the Prime Minister of the Country or by the Council of the State .



The main characteristics of the decrees are mentioned below.

  • The elaboration of the decrees will always depend on the legislation of the countries.
  • It has a regulatory content type .
  • They can contain general elements that imply a decision or individual elements that imply a disposition .
  • The rules for general law are formulated from them .
  • In a democracy, they are dictated by the executive branch .
  • They are subject to review by the legislature and the judiciary .
  • They contain a series of legal norms that can be individual or general.


The origin of the decrees is found in a certain sense of need and urgency that occur in the countries due to a series of situations considered emergency which must be resolved in the shortest possible time.

What is it for

Decrees can be established in order to protect the interests of countries when they are facing dangerous situations such as states of emergency.


There are several types of decrees which are mentioned below.

  • Decree of Law: it is issued directly by the executive branch and has the status of law. It has the ability to modify the laws that already exist and does not need the authorization of a Congress or an Assembly to take office. They are usually done when there is an emergency and the time to obtain a validation is very short. They are also very characteristic of those countries where there is a de facto government.
  • Emergency decree : they are produced so that the president can make payments that have not been authorized by law to be able to face a series of catastrophic natural events that threaten security or basic services.
  • Decree in Council of State : they occur in countries that have this type of governmental figure.
  • Royal Decree : this type occurs in Spain . It is a type of rule of a legal nature that is issued through the legislative power . They are signed by the king and then approved by the prime minister .

Parts of a decree

The decrees consist of several parts, among them mentioned:

  • Enunciated part : it contains all the information related to the matter at hand, in other words, what are the reasons that lead to request a decree.
  • Considerative part : A detailed explanation of all the legal background and background is given here. The need for its issuance is also placed as a benefit for society.
  • Operative part : it can indicate everything that is ordered and written through the use of articles.

How is it approved

The decree is approved through Congress .

Regulation by country


They are regulated by the Spanish Constitution and through it it is ensured that the decrees are not used abusively by the government. They are debated by the deputies who must issue a resolution within 30 days . It also has circumstantial, material and temporal limits.


In Colombia, decrees are issued by the National Government , in this case by the President of the nation based on a law of extraordinary powers that are conferred by the Congress of the Republic in those cases that are strictly necessary.


Here the decrees are issued by the president and are made with the objective of facing serious situations that the country may face and that result in a threat to the inhabitants.


In this country they are decreed when there are emergency situations and the executive branch is in charge of regulating the laws. The governors are responsible for their promulgation and, if the legislative power is not working for any reason, the executive will be in charge of carrying out the decrees of necessity and urgency .


In Chile , they are issued through the President of the Republic and these can enter into force with or without the signatures of the ministers of the State. There are the supreme decrees established by the President, the decrees of immediate application and the exempt decrees which are not subject to the control procedures of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic.

How does a royal decree differ from a decree law

decree law is a type of legal norm that comes from the executive power , in other words, from the government of a country. The royal decree is also a legal norm but it also has a range of regulation which also has the prohibition of contradicting the law . Another important difference is that the adjective royal is used only to refer to decrees issued by a monarchy , in this case, in Spain.

What is a supreme decree

supreme decree is an administrative type act that consists of an order that is made in writing and that is issued by the President of the Republic , or, on some occasions by a minister, whose main objective is to regulate matters that are not They have been understood by the legal domain so that the execution of the law and the administration of the State is possible.

How it differs from a law

One of the main differences between these two terms is that decrees generally come from the executive power , whereas laws are the product of legislation . The decrees tend to be born in those emergency situations that a country is going through, the laws, are produced after long debates and consensus .

In addition, the laws are a type of norms that must be complied with in a mandatory way depending on and following the social pact , they are norms that belong to the State and are applied in all types of situations. On the other hand, decrees are a type of specific decision that are taken to be able to face a problem , in some cases they can reach the rank of law and in others not.


The decrees are very important because they make it possible for countries to legislate more quickly and efficiently in the face of a series of situations that need to be resolved in a short period of time due to their urgency .


Some examples of decrees are the following:

  • Declaration of the use of emergency funds to attend national catastrophes.
  • Decrees of law issued by the executive branch to face, for example, the situation caused by COVID-19.

Leave a Comment