Difference between Process and Procedure – (with examples)

We explain the difference between a process and a procedure through examples from everyday life or law . We also talk about their similarities.

Difference between process and procedure
The process is a global set, while the procedure is about the methodology to follow.

What is the difference between process and procedure?

If we look up the terms process and procedure in a dictionary, we will see that they have very close but different meanings, even in colloquial language. The main difference between the two words is that a process encompasses the successive stages that make up a phenomenon or an operation, while a procedure designates the methodology applied to do something.

The confusion is not unusual though. The terms are even used interchangeably, as if they were synonymous. This is because they share etymology: both are forms of Latin procedere (“Advance”, “march forward”), which at some point in the history of language separated and began to denote different referents.

Thus, the process preserved the global sense of the march or the road (noticeable during religious processions as well, which is a slow march through the city with the cult icons on their shoulders), while the procedure focused on how the aforementioned march is carried out, or what was the method according to which the march proceeds.

For example, if we imagine a cooking recipe, we understand as a process the global set of actions that will lead us to prepare a delicious dish, while we will call the differentiated steps that allow us to start that process procedure.

The first has general, dynamic and managed stages, while the second involves specific, static or invariable steps, which are always part of a process. Thus, every procedure necessarily integrates a process, but not every process involves an established procedure.

This difference is even more important in areas of law, where process is equivalent to the judicial action itself, that is, to the litigation or lawsuit that the authorities of the judicial public power resolve through the application of the law.

A lawsuit for breach of contract is a process, and as such requires the fulfillment of a series of specific steps to carry it out: these steps make up the procedure. If the latter is not carried out rigorously, the whole process will be affected and flawed, and justice cannot be done.

Thus, in the case of the lawsuit for breach of contract, the different steps that justice must follow: assign lawyers, hold a prior hearing, etc., make up the due procedure.