Decree Definition

Decree, a term that comes from the Latin decrētum, is the decision of an authority on the matter in which it has jurisdiction. It is usually an administrative act carried out by the Executive Branch, with regulatory content and a lower hierarchy than the laws.

There are many types of decrees that exist. Thus, for example, we would have to talk about the royal decrees which, as their name indicates, are those laws that require the signature of the monarch of the country.

The decrees of insistence are other modalities that exist in various countries of the world. Chile, in particular, is one of the nations that has legislation of this type whose main feature is that it is dictated by the President of the Republic with the support of his ministers. But they are also identified because they had previously been controlled by the body known as the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic.

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A decree embodies a decision of a competent authority.

Nature of the decrees

The nature of the decree varies according to each national legislation. There are, in many cases, decree laws or decrees of necessity and urgency, which are issued by the Executive Power and have the character of law even without passing through the Legislative Power. Once enacted, however, Congress can analyze them and decide whether or not to maintain their validity.

These decree laws allow the Government to make urgent decisions, with rapid procedures and without wasting time. For the opposition political parties, however, this type of resolution usually implies an abuse of power by the dominant party, which avoids the mechanisms of debate.

The decree law or similar, therefore, offers the constitutional possibility to the Executive Branch of creating regulations with the force of law without the intervention or prior authorization of Parliament or Congress. It resembles, in this way, the norms with legal status dictated by dictatorships or de facto governments, with the important difference that, in the case of democratic governments, the decree law is protected by the Constitution.

A decree is usually an administrative act of the Executive Power.

Imposition of a will

In the popular imagination, however, urgent decrees tend to appear associated with hegemonic power and a desire to bypass parliamentary debate.

In recent times, there are many countries that carry out the approval of various decrees that cause controversy or arouse interest throughout the world. Thus, for example, the president of Venezuela (Nicolás Maduro) has issued a special decree that he intended to be a favorable measure for the people since with it he wanted to force the price of cars to fall.

In Spain, for its part, a draft of the Renewable Energies decree was “raising blisters” in the sector because it was considered that it was a step backwards. Specifically, professionals in the field, through the Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF), have stated that what this legislation would do would be for investors to have worse conditions and that would mean, therefore, that they decide to embark on fewer projects. The end result of all this is that work in this area was notably damaged.