Legal norms


The legal rules consist of a prescription which is directed towards the human behavior , and thus is prescribed by an authority .


What are legal norms?


Legal norms are all the norms that are in charge of ordering the behavior of people based on the dictates of some entity or group of entities in society. As a general rule, it is a set of rules that impose duties and guarantee rights to citizens.

  • Definition
  • Characteristics of legal norms
  • What are they for
  • Source
  • Elements
  • Types of legal norms
  • Hierarchy
  • How they are created
  • App
  • Interpretation
  • Legal regulations by country
  • Importance
  • Examples


In the field of law (although not only in this one), the regulation of conduct , of the actions of people is fundamental . From this perspective , the concept of Legal Norms arises . These are about all those rules , dictates or ordinances that are responsible for, worth the redundancy, ordering human behavior within society.

legal norm can be presented in various forms, since this can be a law , as well as it can be a regulation , a decree or any administrative act that promotes rights or imposes duties . We will discuss this topic below.

Characteristics of legal norms

How to characterize legal norms ? Understanding that its concept can be misunderstood when it is confused with others such as ” rules of law “ or ” legal system “, it could be said that some of the main characteristics of Norma Jurídica are:

  • It is a rule that orders the behavior of people from an entity that operates as an authority .
  • Their criteria are based on prevailing value systems and their non-compliance may lead to corrections .
  • It promotes rights and assigns duties .
  • It is ” heteronomous “ , that is, it has the quality of having been imposed by another.
  • It is ” bilateral “ , that is, when there is a person obliged to comply with these regulations, there is another who will demand their obedience.
  • It is “ coercible ” , that is, it can be enforced through external and perceptible sanctions.
  • It is ” external “ , that is, the important thing has been that the rule is fulfilled, and not so much that people believe in them.

What are they for

The Legal Norms present two clearly discernible functions . These would be:

Motivating function

That is, it tries to stimulate or promote people or citizens so that they do not violate the typical conditions of living together. Its action is based on the so-called “ special prevention ” .

Protective function

That is, it seeks to protect people and living conditions from potential transgressions. Its actions are based on the so-called ” general prevention “ ,


From a historical point of view, the Legal Norms find their origin from the times of the Enlightenment . Although in the time of Ancient Rome and the Middle Ages there were laws , their structure became somewhat precarious according to the interests of the parties involved. The notion of Legal Norms began to be established from the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century , for technical reasons (it provides minimum guarantees of security), political (Political thought at the time was interested in the guarantees provided by the codes), among others.


Among the elements to highlight within the Legal Standards , we can highlight:

  • Legal subject : refers to any entity to whom the law recognizes a set of rights or the obligation of a set of duties.
  • Legal purpose : it is all the conducts that certain subjects have to fulfill in favor of others.
  • Legal relationship : it is a link that is built between a subject (called active, and who is the recipient of a right) with another subject (called passive, and who is in the duty to protect the right of the first).

Types of legal norms

Its typology can be made according to different criteria . According to the criterion that is based on the will of the individual , the legal norms can be:

  • Mandatory norms : that is, they are mandatory regardless of the desire or will of the people.
  • Operative norms : also known as “subjective norms” , these are all those that do not require the participation of an opposing party that goes against the will of the individual, that is, that arise from the disposition of the subject.


In order to establish and guarantee a notion of order , the Legal Norms tend to be hierarchical in order to avoid contradictions between them and that their fulfillment is done according to the importance they present within said hierarchy:

  • Constitution .
  • Legislative acts (laws, codes, etc.).
  • General administrative acts .
  • Individualized acts (sentences, individualized administrative acts, etc.).

How they are created

In the absence or deficiency of any Legal Norm , different procedures can be used in order to solve this issue. Among them we can mention methods such as: Heterointegration (elements are taken from other sectors of the Legal System to fill the existing gaps within the system) or Self- integration (elements are taken from the same system to solve this problem).


In this regard, it refers to any activity or action that must be carried out in order to provide solutions to certain cases. His procedure, in this case, would be:

  • Determination of those facts or events that have given rise to the status or process of controversy, always in order to know if there is a problem on which the Legal System must act.
  • Search and selection of the legal norm that can be applied to the alleged controversy, always following the corresponding legal framework.
  • Determination of the meaning of the corresponding rule, that is, resorting to interpretation of the rule in order to know if its meaning is consistent with the controversy in question.
  • Assignment of consequences (example: sanctions) provided for by the Legal Standard in question.


By interpretation, we understand any act of discernment of a meaning contained within a norm . The purpose is to explain a norm and its meaning , thus being able to distinguish between “ authentic interpretation ” (that which is made by the same legislator), “ doctrinal interpretation ” (that which is made by consensus among experts) and “ interpretation usual ” (one that is authorized by the courts).

Legal regulations by country


In the Peruvian case, article 51 of the Political Constitution establishes “The Constitution prevails over all legal norms; the law, on the norms of lower hierarchy, and so on. Advertising is essential for the validity of all state regulations ”.


The Spanish case establishes the following hierarchy in its legal norms: constitution, international treaties, laws made by the Courts, organic laws, ordinary laws, among others.


In the Mexican case, the hierarchy would be: the constitution, laws of the Congress of the Union emanating from the latter, international treaties and laws and constitutions of the localities.


The Argentine legal pyramid is established as follows: National Constitution, International Treaties, National Laws, Parliamentary Decrees, Provincial Laws, Judicial Sentence and Contracts between individuals.


The Colombian case organizes its hierarchy as follows: the Political Constitution, Laws, Decrees, Codes, Ordinances, Sentences and other laws.


Finally, according to the Chilean case, we can see that they are organized as follows: “Political Constitution, Constitutional Reform Laws, Constitutional Organic Law, Qualified Quorum Law, Ordinary Laws “, among others.


To define the importance of the Legal Norms is to immediately refer to the importance of the laws in the ordering of society. It is known that thanks to their effectiveness , a certain notion of organization is achieved in human behaviors within the social context in which they develop. The Legal Norms , then, come to guarantee these points.


As an example, a list of potential Legal Norms will be presented below , the structure of which can serve as a model:

  • All people have the right to identity.
  • Everyone has the right to have a lawyer for their defense.
  • Discrimination against other people is prohibited.
  • Everyone has the right to stand for election.
  • All police officers must identify themselves before an intervention.

Leave a Comment