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Encyclopedia > Bylaw

A bylaw (sometimes also spelled by-law or byelaw) was originally the Viking town law in the Danelaw. Contrary to popular etymology the element by has nothing to do with the preposition by. It is the Old Norse word for larger settlement as in Whitby and Derby (compare with the modern Danish-Norwegian word "by" meaning town, or the modern Swedish word "by", meaning village). Green: Danelaw The Danelaw (from the Old English Dena lagu, Danish: Danelagen ) is an 11th century name for an area of northern and eastern England under the administrative control of the Vikings (or Danes, or Norsemen) from the late 9th century. ... Old Norse or Danish tongue is the Germanic language once spoken by the inhabitants of the Nordic countries (for instance during the Viking Age). ... Whitby is a historic town in North Yorkshire on the north-east coast of England. ... Derby (pronounced dar-bee ) is a city in the East Midlands of England. ...


To this day, the word bylaw most commonly refers to a city or municipal law or ordinance, passed under the authority of a charter or provincial/state law specifying what things may be regulated by the municipality.


The main difference between a bylaw and a "law" passed by a federal, state or provincial body, is that a bylaw is a regulation passed by a non-sovereign body, which derives its authority from another governing body. A municipal government gets its power to pass laws through a charter or a law of the state/provincial or federal government which specifies what things the city may regulate through bylaws. Similarly, a business or corporate body also gets its ability to pass bylaws relevant to its operation from some law or act passed by some public body for the purpose of regulating corporate activities.

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Municipal vs. other uses of the word

An important distinguishment must be made: although organizational, corporate or institutional bylaws share the same name as the municipal ones, and both types of bylaws are enacted by non-sovereign bodies, municipal bylaws are public regulatory laws not unlike acts and statutes of a state or federal government, inasmuch as they apply to everyone living, working or passing through a municipality. Corporate and organizational bylaws regulate only the organization to which they apply. Another key difference is that municipal bylaws frequently set out what things can and cannot be done in a municipality (such as where vehicles may park or stop), as well as respond to a specific need (such as a bylaw to borrow emergency funds) in addition to establishing operational procedures and setting out the form and design of a city government or operation. Corporate or organizational bylaws are generally only of the operational sort, setting out the form, manner or procedure in which a company or organization should be run. Since a company can enact changes through executive decisions, such as the borrowing of emergency funds, bylaws serve the primary function of "incorporating" rules, laying the groundwork for the rules of operation of an organization. As such, corporate or organizational bylaws serve a similar function within a company or organization as a constitution would in a national government, whereas municipalities frequently use bylaws as a method of enactment of decisions. Since municipalities generally have an incorporation document, such as a charter, or are subject to a municipal charter passed by the sovereign body regulating it and all the other cities in that province, cities would not use bylaws as incorporation or establishment regulations.


As such, within its jurisdiction and specific to those areas mandated by the higher body, a municipal bylaw is no different than any other law of the land, and can be enforced with penalties, challenged in court and must comply with other laws of the land, such as the country's constitution or the Charter of Rights. As such, a municipal bylaw is frequently enforced through the public justice system, and offenders can be charged under the relevant offense laws, in a "quasi-criminal" fashion; corporate or business bylaws are rules within the realm of civil law. Most common bylaws include parking & stopping regulations, animal control, building and construction, licensing, noise, zoning and business regulation. The word bylaw is more frequently used in this context in Canada and some Commonwealth countries, whereas in the United States, the words code, ordinance or regulation are more frequent. Accordingly, a Bylaw Enforcement Officer is the Canadian equivalent of the American Code Enforcement Officer or Municipal Regulations Enforcement Officer. The English noun commonwealth dates originally from the fifteenth century. ...


Corporate bylaws

A bylaw is a rule governing the internal management of an organization, such as a business corporation. Bylaws cannot countermand governmental law.


In a business situation, bylaws are drafted by a corporation's founders or directors under the authority of its Charter or Articles of Incorporation. Bylaws widely vary from organization to organization, but generally cover topics such as how directors are elected, how meetings of directors (and in the case of a business, shareholders) are conducted, and what officers the organization will have and a description of their duties. It has been suggested that this article be split into multiple articles accessible from a disambiguation page. ... The Articles of Incorporation (sometimes also referred to as the Certificate of Incorporation or the Charter) are the primary rules governing the management of a corporation, and are filed with a state or other regulatory agency. ...


Bylaws generally can be amended by an organization's Board of Directors. In relation to a company, a director is an officer (that is, someone who works for the company) charged with the conduct and management of its affairs. ...


In parliamentary procedure, particularly Robert's Rules of Order, the bylaws are generally the supreme governing document of an organization, superseded only by the charter of an incorporated society. The bylaws contain the most fundamental principles and rules regarding the nature of the organization. It was once common practice for organizations to have two separate governing documents, a constitution and bylaws, but this has fallen out of favor because of the ease of use, increased clarity, and reduced chance of conflict inherent in a single, unified document. This single document, while properly referred to as the bylaws, is often referred to as a constitution or a constitution and bylaws. Unless otherwise provided by law, the organization does not formally exist until bylaws have been adopted. CUNT FACEEEE Parliamentary procedure is the name given to the set of rules governing the decision-making process used by a deliberative assembly. ... 1876 edition Roberts Rules of Order is the informal short title of a book containing rules of order intended to be adopted for use by a deliberative assembly. ... An organisation (or organization — see spelling differences) is a social arrangement which pursues collective goals, which controls its own performance, and which has a boundary separating it from its environment. ... It has been suggested that this article be split into multiple articles accessible from a disambiguation page. ... Incorporation (abbreviated Inc. ... Young people interacting within an ethnically diverse society. ...


Local bylaws

In the public law of some jurisdictions, bylaws are codes and regulations adopted by and governing matters within the purview of sub-state entities, such as parking, zoning, and retail business licensing. See: ordinance. A local ordinance is a law usually found in a municipal code. ...


Local Union By-Laws

Cover of guideline document by United Steelworkers to form the basis of by-laws that may be adopted by a local union.
Cover of guideline document by United Steelworkers to form the basis of by-laws that may be adopted by a local union.

Trade unions ordinarily have constitutions, which govern activities of the international office of the union as well as how it interfaces with its locals. The locals themselves can set up their own by-laws to set out internal rules for how to conduct activities. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 346 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (1800 × 3117 pixel, file size: 632 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 346 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (1800 × 3117 pixel, file size: 632 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... The United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (United Steelworkers or USW) claims over 1. ... A trade union or labor union is an organization of individuals associated through employment, or labour. ...


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