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A decree is a rule of
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bounda ...
usually issued by a
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role that one adopts, or a fictional ch ...
(such as the
president President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...
of a
republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...

republic
or a
monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role tha ...

monarch
), according to certain procedures (usually established in a constitution). It has the force of law. The particular term used for this concept may vary from country to country. The ''
executive order In the United States, an executive order is a directive Directive may refer to: * Directive (European Union), a legislative act of the European Union * Directive (programming), a computer language construct that specifies how a compiler shou ...
s'' made by the
President of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of ...

President of the United States
, for example, are decrees (although a decree is not exactly an order).


Decree by jurisdiction


Belgium

In
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Belgium
, a decree is a law of a community or regional parliament, e.g. the
Flemish Parliament The Flemish Parliament (Dutch language, Dutch: , formerly called Flemish Council or ''Vlaamse Raad'') constitutes the legislature, legislative power in Flanders for matters which fall within the competence of Flanders, both as a geographic region ...
.


France

The word ''décret'', literally "decree", is an old legal usage in France and is used to refer to executive orders issued by the French
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...
or
Prime Minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...
. Any such order must not violate the
French Constitution The current Constitution of France was adopted on 4 October 1958. It is typically called the Constitution of the Fifth Republic, and it replaced the Constitution of the Fourth Republic, of 1946. Charles de Gaulle was the main driving force in ...
or
Civil Code A civil code is a codification of private law Private law is that part of a civil law Civil law may refer to: * Civil law (common law) Civil law is a major branch of the law.Glanville Williams. ''Learning the Law''. Eleventh Edition. Stevens. ...
, and a party has the right to request an order be annulled in the French
Council of State A Council of State is a governmental body in a country, or a subdivision of a country, with a function that varies by jurisdiction. It may be the formal name for the cabinet or it may refer to a non-executive advisory body associated with a head o ...
. Orders must be ratified by Parliament before they can be modified into legislative Acts. Special orders known as ''décret-loi'', literally "decree-act" or "decree-law", usually considered an illegal practice under the 3rd and 4th Republic, were finally abolished and replaced by the regulations under the 1958 Constitution. Except for the reserve powers of the President (as stated in Art. 16 of the 1958 Constitution, exercised only once so far), the executive can issue decrees in areas that the Constitution grants as the responsibility of Parliament only if a law authorizes it to do so. In other cases, orders are illegal and, should anyone sue for the order's annulment, it would be voided by the Council of State. There exists a procedure for the Prime Minister to issue ordinances in such areas, but this procedure requires Parliament's express consent (see Art 38 of the 1958 Constitution). Orders issued by the Prime Minister take two forms: * Orders (''décrets simples''); * Orders-in-council (''décrets en Conseil d'État''), when a statute mandates the advisory consultation of the
Council of State A Council of State is a governmental body in a country, or a subdivision of a country, with a function that varies by jurisdiction. It may be the formal name for the cabinet or it may refer to a non-executive advisory body associated with a head o ...
. Sometimes, people refer to ''décrets en Conseil d'État'' improperly as ''décrets du Conseil d'État''. This would imply that it is the Council of State that takes the decree, whereas the power of decreeing is restricted to the president or prime minister; the role of the administrative sections of the Council is purely advisory. Decrees may be classified into: *
Regulation Regulation is the management of complex systems A complex system is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea of a two-way e ...

Regulation
s, which may be: ** Application decrees (''décrets d'application''), each of which must be specifically authorized by one or more
statute A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) ...

statute
s to determine some
implementation Implementation is the realization of an application, or execution of a plan A plan is typically any diagram or list of steps with details of timing and resources, used to achieve an Goal, objective to do something. It is commonly understood as ...

implementation
conditions of this or these statutes; these constitute
secondary legislation In parliamentary systems and presidential systems of government, primary legislation and secondary legislation, the latter also called delegated legislation or subordinate legislation, are two forms of law, created respectively by the legislatur ...
and are roughly equivalent to British
statutory instruments In many countries, a statutory instrument is a form of delegated legislation In parliamentary systems and presidential systems of government, primary legislation and secondary legislation, the latter also called delegated legislation or subordi ...
; ** Autonomous regulations (''règlements autonomes''), which may be taken only in areas where the Constitution does not impose statute law (passed by the
Legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
); these constitute
primary legislation In parliamentary systems and presidential systems of government, primary legislation and secondary legislation, the latter also called delegated legislation or subordinate legislation, are two forms of law, created respectively by the legislatur ...
; * Particular measures, such as the nomination of high-level
civil servants The civil service is a collective term for a sector of government composed mainly of career civil servants hired on professional merit rather than appointed or elected, whose institutional tenure typically survives transitions of political leadersh ...
. Only the prime minister may issue regulatory or application decrees. Presidential decrees are generally nominations or exceptional measures where the law mandates a presidential decree, such as the dissolution of the
French National Assembly The National Assembly (french: link=no, italics=set, Assemblée nationale; ) is the lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alaba ...
, the calling of new legislative elections, and the grant of the title
Marshal of France Marshal of France (french: Maréchal de France, plural ') is a French military distinction, rather than a military rank Military ranks are a system of hierarchy, hierarchical relationships, within an armed forces, police, intelligence agen ...

Marshal of France
. Decrees are published in the ''
Journal Officiel de la République Française A journal, from the Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from ...
'' or "French Gazette".


Catholic Church

A decree (
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...
: ''decretum'') in the usage of the
canon law Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler A ruler, sometimes called a rule or line gauge, is a device used in geometry and technical drawing, as well as the engineering and construction industries, to measure dis ...
of the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic Church
has various meanings. Any
papal bull A papal bull is a type of public decree, letters patent, or charter issued by a pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the leaden Seal (emblem), seal (''bulla (seal), bulla'') that was traditionally appended to the end in order to auth ...
, brief, or
motu proprio In law, ''motu proprio'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power o ...
is a decree inasmuch as these documents are legislative acts of the
pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman pontiff (), is the bishop of Diocese of Rome, Rome, chief pastor of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state o ...

pope
. In this sense, the term is quite ancient. The
Roman Congregations In the Roman Curia, a congregation ( lat, Sacræ Cardinalium Congregationes) is a type of department of the Curia. They are second-highest-ranking departments, ranking below the two Secretariats, and above the pontifical councils, Pontifical Commis ...
were formerly empowered to issue decrees in matters which come under their particular jurisdiction but were forbidden from continuing to do so under
Pope Benedict XV Pope Benedict XV (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Ro ...

Pope Benedict XV
in 1917. Each ecclesiastical province and also each
diocese In Ecclesiastical polity, church governance, a diocese or bishopric is the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop. History In the later organization of the Roman Empire, the increasingly subdivided Roman province, prov ...
may issue decrees in their periodical
synods A synod () is a council of a church Church may refer to: Religion * Church (building) A church building, church house, or simply church, is a building used for Christian worship services and other Christian religious activities. The t ...
within their sphere of authority. While in a general sense all documents promulgated by an ecumenical council can be called decrees. in a specific sense some of these documents, as at the
Second Vatican Council The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, commonly known as the , or , was the 21st ecumenical council An ecumenical council (or oecumenical council; also general council) is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological e ...
, were called more precisely constitutions or declarations. Canon 29 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law defines general decrees:


Holy See

The
Holy See The Holy See ( lat, Sancta Sedes, ; it, Santa Sede ), also called the See of Rome or Apostolic See, is the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian ...
uses decrees from the
pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman pontiff (), is the bishop of Diocese of Rome, Rome, chief pastor of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state o ...

pope
such as
papal bull A papal bull is a type of public decree, letters patent, or charter issued by a pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the leaden Seal (emblem), seal (''bulla (seal), bulla'') that was traditionally appended to the end in order to auth ...
, papal brief or
motu proprio In law, ''motu proprio'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power o ...
as legislative acts.


Italy

According to clause 77 of the
Italian Constitution The Constitution of the Italian Republic ( it, Costituzione della Repubblica Italiana) was enacted by the Constituent Assembly on 22 December 1947, with 453 votes in favour and 62 against. The text, which has since been amended sixteen times, ...
, "The Government may not, without an enabling act from the Houses, issue decrees having the force of ordinary law. When in extraordinary cases of necessity and urgency the Government adopts provisional measures having the force of law, it must on the same day present said measures for confirmation to the Houses which, even if dissolved, shall be summoned specially for this purpose and shall convene within five days. The decrees lose effect from their inception if they are not confirmed within sixty days from their publication. The Houses may however regulate by law legal relationships arising out of not confirmed decrees." The effectiveness for sixty days produces the effects immediately, giving rights or expectations whose legal basis was precarious, especially when the conversion law never intervened.


Portugal

In
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...

Portugal
, there are several types of decrees ( pt, decretos, singular pt, decreto) issued by the various bodies of sovereignty or by the bodies of self-government of
autonomous regions An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country sub ...
. Currently, there are the following types of decrees: # Decree-law ( pt, decreto-lei): is a legislative act issued by the
Government of Portugal The Government of Portugal is one of the four sovereignty bodies of the Portuguese Republic, together with the President of Portugal, President of the Republic, the Assembly of the Republic (Portugal), Assembly of the Republic and Judiciary of Por ...
under its legislative powers defined by Article 198 of the
Portuguese Constitution The present Constitution of Portugal was adopted in 1976 after the Carnation Revolution. It was preceded by a number of constitutions including the first one created in 1822 (following the Liberal Revolution of 1820), 1826 (drawn up by Kin ...
; # Regional legislative decree ( pt, decreto legislativo regional): is a regional law, issued by the legislative assembly of an autonomous region, within its powers defined by articles 227 and 233 of the Constitution ; # Decree of the President of the Republic ( pt, decreto do Presidente da República): is a decree issued by the
President of Portugal President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) *President (education), a leader of a college or university *President (government title) President may also refer to: Automobiles * Nissan President, a 1966–2010 Japanese ful ...
, for the ratification of international treaties, the appointment or dismissal of members of the Government or to exercise other presidential powers defined in the Constitution; # Decree ( pt, decreto): is an act issued by the Government of Portugal to an approve international agreement whose approval is not within the competence of the Assembly of the Republic or has not been submitted to it or within the Government administrative jurisdiction laid down in Article 199 of the Constitution in relation to a statute that requires this decree; # Regulatory decree ( pt, decreto regulamentar): is an act issued by the Government of Portugal, under its administrative jurisdiction laid down in Article 199 of the Constitution, to make the necessary regulations for the proper execution of the laws and to take all actions and decisions necessary to promote economic and social development and to meet the community needs; # Regional regulatory decree ( pt, decreto regulamentar regional): is an act issued by the legislature or the government of an autonomous region, regulating the proper implementation of regional legislative decrees; # A decree from the representative of the Republic ( pt, decreto do representante da República): is the decree of appointment or removal of members of the government of an autonomous region, issued by the representative of the Republic for that region.


Iran

According to the article 110 of the
constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...
, the
supreme leader A supreme leader or supreme ruler typically refers to the person among a number of leaders of a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...
delineates the general policies of the Islamic Republic.


Russia

After the
Russian Revolution The Russian Revolution was a period of political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relatio ...
, a government proclamation of wide meaning was called a "decree" (Russian: декрет, dekret); a more specific proclamation was called an . Both terms are usually translated as 'decree'. According to the Russian Federation's 1993 constitution, an is a presidential decree. Such have the power of laws, but may not alter the Russian constitution or the regulations of existing laws, and may be superseded by-laws passed by the
Federal AssemblyFederal Assembly may refer to: *Federal Assembly (Russia), the Russian federal parliament *Federal Assembly (Czechoslovakia), the former Czechoslovak federal parliament *Federal Assembly (Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland), the former federal par ...
. The
Government of Russia The government of Russia exercises executive power in the Russian Federation. The members of the government are the Prime Minister of Russia, Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, deputy prime ministers, and the federal ministers. ...
can also issue decrees formally called Decisions (Постановления) or Orders (Распоряжения) and may not contradict the constitution/laws or presidential decrees.


Saudi Arabia

Royal decrees are the source of law in Saudi Arabia.


Spain

In Spain, decrees come in several forms: * Royal decree * Royal Decree-Law * Royal Legislative Decree


Turkey

In accordance with Article 107 of the 1982 Constitution. One of the important amendments made in the constitution with the act no. 6771 is related to decrees of the presidency.


United Kingdom

In the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
, Orders-in-Council is either primary legislation deriving their authority from the
Royal Prerogative The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege and immunity, recognized in common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi- ...
, promulgated by the Privy Council in the name of the Monarch; or secondary legislation, promulgated by a Minister of the Crown using the authority granted by an Act of Parliament or other primary legislation. Both are subject to
judicial review Judicial review is a process under which executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administration of state bureaucracy * Executive, ...
, the former with some exceptions.


United States

In US legal usage, during the 19th and early 20th centuries, a decree was an order of a
court of equity A court of equity, equity court or chancery court is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the ...
determining the rights of the parties to a suit, according to equity and good conscience. Since the 1938 procedural merger of law and equity in the federal courts under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the term ''judgment'' (the parallel term in the common law) has generally replaced ''decree''. This is now true also in most state courts. The term ''decree'' is broadly treated as synonymous with ''judgment''. A decree is often a final determination, but there are also interlocutory decrees. A ''final decree'' fully and finally disposes of the whole litigation, determining all questions raised by the case, and it leaves nothing that requires further judicial action; it is also appealable. An ''interlocutory decree'' is a provisional or preliminary decree that is not final and does not fully determine the suit, so that some further proceedings are required before entry of a final decree. It is usually not appealable, although preliminary injunctions by federal courts are appealable even though interlocutory.Cornell Law School
Legal Information Institute.
Executive order In the United States, an executive order is a directive Directive may refer to: * Directive (European Union), a legislative act of the European Union * Directive (programming), a computer language construct that specifies how a compiler shou ...
s, which are instructions from the President to the executive branch of government, are decrees in the general sense in that they have the force of law, although they cannot override statute law or the Constitution and are subject to judicial review. Governors of individual states may also issue
state executive order In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washi ...
s.


Other uses of the term

In some jurisdictions, certain types of
court orders A court order is an official proclamation by a judge A judge is a person who presides over court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organize ...
by
judge A judge is a person who presides over court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In th ...

judge
s are referred to as decrees, e.g. a
divorce Divorce (also known as dissolution of marriage) is the optional process of terminating a marriage in Stockholm Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people calle ...

divorce
decree.


See also

*
Consent decree A consent decree is an agreement or settlement that resolves a dispute between two parties without Admission (law), admission of guilt (in a criminal case) or liability (in a civil case), and most often refers to such a type of settlement in the ...
*
Edict An edict is a decree or announcement of a law, often associated with monarchy, monarchism, but it can be under any official authority. Synonyms include "dictum" and "pronouncement". ''Edict'' derives from the Latin wikt:edictum#Latin, edictum. N ...
*
Fatwa A fatwā (, also ; ar, فتوىٰ; plural ''fatāwā'' ) is a nonbinding legal opinion In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a ...

Fatwa
*
Firman A firman ( fa, ''farmân''), or ferman (), at the constitutional level, was a royal mandate or decree issued by a sovereign in an . During various periods they were collected and applied as traditional bodies of law. The word firman comes fr ...
* Official Communications of the Chinese Empire **
Memorial to the throne A memorial to the throne () was an official communication to the Emperor of China Emperor of China, or ''Huáng dì'' was the monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707 ...
*
Proclamation A proclamation (Lat. ''proclamare'', to make public by announcement) is an official declaration issued by a person of authority to make certain announcements known. Proclamations are currently used within the governing framework of some nations ...

Proclamation
*
Rule by decree Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political or personal control by someone with authority or power * Business rule, a rule pertaining to the structure or behavior internal to a business * School rule, a rule that i ...
*
Rescript In legal terminology, a rescript is a document that is issued not on the initiative of the author, but in response (it literally means 'written back') to a specific demand made by its addressee. It does not apply to more general legislation. Overvi ...
*
Soviet Decree Decrees (russian: декреты) were legislative acts of the highest Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist countr ...
*
Ukase Example of a modern ''ukaz'': the ambassadorial appointment of Sergey Kislyak to the United States in 2008. In Imperial Russia The Russian Empire, . commonly referred to as Imperial Russia, was a historical empire that extended across Eurasia ...

Ukase


Notes


References

* ''Executive decree authority'', John M. Carey and Matthew Soberg Shugart, Eds., Cambridge University Press, 1998,


External links

''All external sites in French unless otherwise noted.''
1946 Constitution of the 4th Republic


{{Authority control Sources of law