Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Legislative Branch Definition:

The elected law-making branch of government.

Related Terms: Judicial Branch , Executive Branch, Government, Omnibus Bill

The legislative branch can initiate and rescind laws and is the only authority able to approve proposed laws, although the constitution of many jurisdictions allow persons or agencies of the executive branch to propose laws.

One of three traditional branches of democratic government (the other two being legislative and judiciary). The executive branch is the administrative arm of government; the one with the most employees as it operates, implements and enforces all the laws created by the legislative branch, and as adjusted, from time to time, by the judiciary.

In Fraser v Canada, a Canadian judge wrote of:

"… three branches of government -- the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary.

"In broad terms, the role of the Judiciary is, of course, to interpret and apply the law; the role of the Legislature is to decide upon and enunciate policy; the role of the Executive is to administer and implement that policy."

Typically, given that law-making is generally the most important function of government, legislative authority is specifically granted within a nation’s constitution.

For example, the US Constitution, at Article 1, says:

"All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives."

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