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Mandate vs Law: What’s the Difference?

People that don`t have an insight into law science often don`t understand the terms that are used in that practice. Many of us for example don`t understand the difference between a mandate and a law, but knowing that can be resourceful in some situations.

So what is the difference between a mandate and a law? Mandates are implemented quickly for a specific situation that requires haste, while a law is a longstanding rule that can be harder to create but remains in place much longer.

That is the essential difference, but there is more. There are differences in their implementation, their enforcement, and several other instances that keep them separated. Stay with me, and from today you will know a little more about law practice.

Main Differences Between A Mandate And A Law

Although there are several similarities between mandates and laws, I will name the differences first.

The first thing to look out for is the time it takes to implement a law or a mandate.

Creating a law can take from one week several months and even years. It is a long process that starts with the drafting of the law. It can take several weeks, and up to even a couple of months.

After the drafting of the body of the law, there is a debate in the senate or parliament. How long the debate lasts depends on the political climate and the willingness to make a consensus.

The time the debate can last can vary. Once all sides agree on the text of the law, then there is the vote, and the law is passed. If the vote doesn`t pass, then the law is back on the drawing board. It should be rewritten to fulfill the will of the majority.

On the other side, a goal for a mandate is to be implemented fast, because the mandate should be used in critical and catastrophic situations that require fast-acting. If it takes too long to implement, a mandate is not useful.

The next big difference is in who is implementing the law and the mandate. The law needs to be voted for by elected representatives in elections. They are conducting debates before voting, and thus giving an ordinary citizen a chance to learn something about the laws that are being implemented.

If a mandate had all those steps before implementation, it would not be of any use. A mandate is in most cases implemented by one person or authority, and that is called a unilateral decision.

So, when you want to implement a law, first it needs to be written, then debated, added or erased some amendments, then voted. And it is all conducted in a senate or a parliament. A mandate can be put into action very quickly, and usually, the president doesn`t need to ask Congress for an opinion on a mandate.

The third big difference between a mandate and a law is how long it should be used. When you are proposing a law, it is supposed to be used for a long time, and that is why it is debated, voted, and amended before implementation.

The only way to remove the law is when a majority vote so. But there should be another law that will replace the other law, so it is very difficult to completely nullify one law.

On the other hand, mandates should be used while there is a need for its function. If there is a natural disaster, and you are implementing a mandate regarding it, once the danger passes, the mandate is lifted.

Mandate Law
Who creates it? Department heads and other high officials Representatives that are chosen on the elections
How long does it take to implement it? Can be made very quickly, in a matter of hours or days Making a law can take from a week to several years. It depends on the state, political atmosphere, and the law itself
How long does it last? It is implemented because of a crisis or some unexpected situation, and it is removed when it is passed They are used until the law is abolished or replaced by the other law

FAQ About Mandates And Laws

Q: Is a mandate the same thing as a law?

No, it isn`t. The mandate is used in special and critical situations and it is lifted when it is over. Laws are made to last longer in regular conditions. They are made for completely different reasons. Mandates handle major irregularities, while laws are made to keep everyday life in check.

Q: What does a mandate mean legally?

A mandate is a given authority from one person to another to do certain things or actions. Not fulfilling the mandate results in repressive measures implemented by the mandates.

Q: Is a mandate mandatory?

If a mandate is implemented, it needs to be carried out. Depending on the case there are different kinds of restrictions and fines for those who don`t follow the mandates.

The means to implement a mandate are made when the mandate is made. Enforcing a mandate is important just as much as implementing it. If you just announce the mandate, without any ways to control its effectiveness and use is completely useless.

Q: Is a state mandate a law?

A state mandate is a law that is implemented with a certain purpose. It is usually directed to local governments and their abilities to impact a specific activity. Sometimes state mandates are used to bolster some activity, and in others to refrain people from conducting it.

Q: Do a governor mandate a law?

That depends on the statute and type of government. In some states, governors have wide authorization regarding the question of mandating a law, but in most cases, multiple steps can change a law into a mandate. There are several levels of power that require to be consulted before the governor.

Q: What happens if you don`t follow the mandate?

When implemented, mandates come with ways of enforcing them. Rarely in human history, a mandate gives results without repressive measures.

Mandates come with ways of measures that should help them to give results. Those measures can be different types of fines, or people can be encouraged with positive actions to follow the rules set by the mandates.


Knowing one’s rights and responsibilities is key for a functioning society. Laws and mandates are there to define them. At its core, both are made to help society to thrive and improve itself.

Laws are made for long periods, and they set certain guidelines for the people to follow. It takes time to adapt to it but with the right measures, it can provide a positive impact on society, and provide a good guideline for everyone.

We all know when using the catchphrase “it is the law” it is meant that the topic in question is the standard for everyone.

The mandate has the same result, but only in critical times. There are periods when laws are not enough, and when swift action is needed.

Then there are mandates. Is it an earthquake, fire, pandemic, war, or hurricane, then usually there is a need for quick-acting so the society can adapt to a new situation.

Knowing your rights and responsibilities is a key to order. I hope that I shed some light on this, now more than ever important topic and that you will be able to understand how important the actions of every one of us are critical.

James Smith

James is a passionate explorer and the creative mind behind, a platform dedicated to unraveling captivating distinctions. With an insatiable curiosity, he uncovers hidden nuances in various aspects of life, from cultural traditions to scientific phenomena. James believes that appreciating differences fosters personal growth and societal empathy.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Lawrence Wilson

    Interesting article. One question WHO determines when the mandate should finish and how long does it need to be in place before it should be discussed and become law?

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