Legality – Concept, types and legality in governments

We explain what is legality and what is legality in governments. Also, the types of legality that exist.

Legality is everything that is done within the framework of written law.

What is legality?

The principle of legality, or also known as the primacy of the law, is defined as the prevalence of the law over any other activity or action possessed by the public power.

In other words, everything that emanates from a State must be governed by law and not by the will of the people who live in that society. Therefore, legality is everything that is carried out within the framework of the written law.

It is for this reason that all the people that make up a society must respect it for a better coexistence. At the same time, no ruler can oppose what is established in the Constitution of each country, where all the essential norms of each State are found; All measures taken while in office must be subject to the law.

Legality in governments

Legality prevents people from being convicted without any basis.

In countries with a government of democracy, the principle of legality is protected through the division of powers. The function of this legal system is that the power that is in charge of interpreting the laws should not be the same as the one that proposes or executes them.

In most states, criminal law is based on the principle of legality. That is, a crime will only be classified in this way as long as the law expressly indicates it.

The main objective is to prevent a person from being accused – and then convicted – of carrying out an arbitrary crime without any basis that comes from the established laws.

Types of legality

In turn, legality can be classified in different ways according to its specific characteristics:

  • Administrative legality principle. Based on the principle of legality, the public administration is not authorized to act in its own way, it must always execute the content that the law has. The law can be considered as an external limit to administrative activity, within this context, the administration is free. In this way, the State can only abide by what the law allows and orders; In conclusion, nothing can be left to free will.
  • Principle of tax legality. With regard to Tax Law, only by means of a legal norm can each and every one of the elements that form part of the tax obligation be defined. Some examples of these obligations may be the taxable event, the subjects who are obliged to pay, the system to determine the taxable events, the due date of a payment and any infraction, sanction or exemption. It is said that for a tribute to be considered as such, it must only be governed by a law.
  • Principle of legality in Criminal Law. It is established that for a conduct to be classified as a crime it must have been described in that way prior to the event under discussion. As well as, the punishment to be imposed must be previously established by law. It can then be said that criminal legality is a limit directed to the punitive power of a State: only those behaviors that are expressly described as crimes can be punished.

Finally, it is always good to clarify that in order to live in a society where legality is met, not only the rules must be established, but also people must commit to comply with those rules. Each individual will have the social responsibility of ensuring compliance with the law in different areas.