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Where Do Laws Come From?

Where Do Laws Come From?

Learn about Where Laws Come From?

Ireland has a written constitution, the Constitution of Ireland, which was enacted in 1937.
The Constitution is the fundamental law of the State.
It provides an umbrella under which the State functions and under which justice is administered by the courts.

The Constitution

  • Provides the framework for the State functioning & the administration of justice by the Courts.
  • Protects the fundamental rights of citizens & the relationship between the 3 branches of government.


Separation of Powers

This is the idea that a government functions best when its powers do not rest in a single authority but are instead divided among different branches.

This system separates and blends the powers of the government so that each branch balances out the others.

There are three branches of Government in Ireland

In Ireland the legislature is the Oireachtas.  It comprises the President and two houses: the Dáil and the Seanad.  The main functions of the Oireachtas are to manage the State finances and to legislate for the good of the people.  The people elect the President and representatives (T.D.) to Dáil Éireann.

The executive is the government.  The government is made up of An Taoiseach and the ministers of the various government departments.  The government is the centre of the administrative system in Ireland.  It formulates policies, promotes legislation and directs the operations of the various departments - in a way, it is like the board of directors of a company.

These are the judges who administer justice in the courts.  The Irish Constitution (Article 34.1) says that justice shall be administered by judges in courts established by law.

Origins of Powers

All laws made in Ireland must conform to the Constitution.

Other sources of law:

  • Statute Law (Acts)
  • Common Law (Judge-made law)
  • European Law
  • International Law 

Statute law ("Acts of The Oireachtas") begin as a Bill which is the Executive's proposal for legislation. A Bill passes five stages before it becomes an Act.