What is legality?

We explain what is legality and how is legality in governments. In addition, the types of legality that exist.

  1. What is legality?

The principle of legality, or also known as the primacy of the law, is defined as the prevalence of the law against any other activity or action that the public power possesses.

That is, 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 done within the framework of written law .

It is for this reason that all the people who make up a society must respect it for a better coexistence. In turn , no ruler can oppose the provisions of 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.

  1. The legality in governments

Legality prevents people from being convicted without any basis.

In countries that have 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 responsible for interpreting the laws should not be the same as that which proposes or executes them.

In most states, criminal law is based on the principle of legality. That is, a crime will only be cataloged 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 committing an offense in an arbitrary and unfounded manner that comes from the established laws.

  1. Types of legality

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

  • Principle of administrative legality: 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 be governed 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 through a legal norm can each and every one of the elements that are part of the tax obligation be defined. Some examples of these obligations may be the taxable event, the subjects that are obliged to pay, the system to determine the taxable events, the date to comply with a payment and any infraction, sanction or exemption. It is said that for a tax to be considered as such, it must be governed only by 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 this manner prior to the event under discussion. As well as the punishment that will 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 may be punished.

Finally, it is always good to clarify that in order to live in a society where legality is fulfilled, not only must the rules 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.

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