Last updated

A legislator (also known as a deputy or lawmaker) is a person who writes and passes laws, especially someone who is a member of a legislature. Legislators are often elected by the people of the state. [1] Legislatures may be supra-national (for example, the European Parliament), national (for example, the United States Congress), or local (for example, local authorities).



The political theory of the separation of powers requires legislators to be independent individuals from the members of the executive and the judiciary. Certain political systems adhere to this principle, others do not. In the United Kingdom, for example, the executive is formed almost exclusively from legislators (members of Parliament) although the judiciary is mostly independent (until reforms in 2005, the Lord Chancellor uniquely was a legislator, a member of the executive - indeed, the Cabinet - and a judge, while until 2009 the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary were both judges and legislators as members of the House of Lords, though by convention they did not vote in the House until retirement).

In continental European jurisprudence and legal discussion, "the legislator" (le législateur) is the abstract entity that has produced the laws. When there is room for interpretation, the intent of the legislator will be questioned, and the court is directed to rule in the direction it judges to best fit the legislative intent, which can be difficult in the case of conflicting laws or constitutional provisions.


The local term for a legislator is usually a derivation of the local term for the relevant legislature. Typical examples include

By country

This is an incomplete list of terms for a national legislator:

Flag of Algeria.svg  Algeria نواب ("Député") People's National Assembly
Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina Diputado Nacional Chamber of Deputies
Diputado provincial Several provincial Chambers of Deputies
Flag of Belarus.svg  Belarus Дэпутат ("deputat") House of Representatives
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium Provincial executive member: Gedeputeerde (nl) / Député (fr) / Deputierter (de)Deputation / Provincial College (provincial executive body)
In French, député is sometimes also used to denote a member of parliament. Chamber of Representatives or a regional parliament
Bandera de Bolivia (Estado).svg  Bolivia Diputado Chamber of Deputies
Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil Deputado estadual Legislative Assemblies
Deputado federal Chamber of Deputies
Flag of Bulgaria.svg  Bulgaria Депутат(Deputat)l National Assembly (Bulgaria)
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada Senator [2] Senate of Canada
Member of Parliament (M.P.) [3] House of Commons of Canada
Flag of Chile.svg  Chile Diputado Chamber of Deputies
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China Deputy (人大代表) National People's Congress
Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia Diputado Departamental Assemblies
Flag of Costa Rica.svg  Costa Rica Diputado Asamblea Legislativa
Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark Folketingsmedlem Folketinget
Flag of the Dominican Republic.svg  Dominican Republic Diputado Chamber of Deputies of the Dominican Republic
Flag of Ecuador.svg  Ecuador Asambleísta (before 2007, diputado) Asamblea Nacional de la República del Ecuador
Flag of El Salvador.svg  El Salvador Diputado Asamblea Legislativa
Flag of France.svg  France Député National Assembly
Flag of Guatemala.svg  Guatemala Diputado Congreso de la República de Guatemala
Flag of Guernsey.svg  Guernsey People's Deputy States of Guernsey
Flag of Haiti.svg  Haiti Député [4] Chamber of Deputies (Haiti)
Flag of Honduras.svg  Honduras Diputado National Congress of Honduras
Flag of India.svg  India Member of Parliament Loksabha
Flag of Iran.svg  Iran مجلس شورای اسلامی Islamic Consultative Assembly (Iran)
Flag of Ireland.svg  Ireland Senators / Seanadóirí Seanad Éireann
Teachtaí Dála (T.D.) Dáil Éireann
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Deputato Camera dei Deputati
Flag of Jersey.svg  Jersey Deputy States of Jersey
Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan Депутат ("deputat") Majilis
Flag of Latvia.svg  Latvia Deputāts Saeima (Parliament)
Flag of Lebanon.svg  Lebanon Député/النواب (Nuwwab, or deputy) Parliament
Flag of Luxembourg.svg  Luxembourg Deputéierten / DéputéChambre des Députés/d'Chamber (Chamber of Deputies)
Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico Diputado Camara de Diputados
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands Gedeputeerde Gedeputeerde Staten (European Netherlands)
Eilandgedeputeerde Bestuurscollege (Caribbean Netherlands)
Flag of Nicaragua.svg  Nicaragua Diputado Asamblea Nacional
Flag of North Korea.svg  North Korea Deputy (대의원;taeŭiwŏn) [5] [6] Supreme People's Assembly
Flag of Panama.svg  Panama Diputado National Assembly
Flag of Paraguay.svg  Paraguay Diputado Chamber of Deputies of Paraguay
Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal Deputado Assembly of the Republic
Flag of Romania.svg  Romania Deputat Camera Deputatilor
Flag of Russia.svg  Russia Депутат ("deputat") State Duma and regional legislative bodies
Flag of Somalia.svg  Somalia Deputy Federal Parliament
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain Diputado Congress of Deputies
Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine People's Deputy of Ukraine (Депутат) Verkhovna Rada
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom Lords Spiritual and Lords Temporal House of Lords
Member of Parliament (M.P.) House of Commons of the United Kingdom
Flag of the United States.svg  United States of America Senator United States Senate
Representative; Congressperson United States House of Representatives
Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay Diputado Chamber of Representatives
Flag of Venezuela.svg  Venezuela Diputado National Assembly of Venezuela

Substitute legislator

Some legislatures provide each legislator with an official "substitute legislator" who deputises for the legislator in the legislature if he or she is unavailable. Venezuela, for example, provides for substitute legislators (diputado suplente) to be elected under Article 186 of its 1999 constitution. [7] Ecuador and Panama also have substitute legislators.

See also

Related Research Articles

Constitutional law Body of law

Constitutional law is a body of law which defines the role, powers, and structure of different entities within a state, namely, the executive, the parliament or legislature, and the judiciary; as well as the basic rights of citizens and, in federal countries such as the United States and Canada, the relationship between the central government and state, provincial, or territorial governments.

President is a common title for the head of state in most republics. The president of a nation is, generally speaking, the head of the government and the fundamental leader of the country or the ceremonial head of state.

Separation of powers refers to the division of a state's government into branches, each with separate, independent powers and responsibilities, so that the powers of one branch are not in conflict with those of the other branches. The typical division is into three branches: a legislature, an executive, and a judiciary, which is sometimes called the trias politica model. It can be contrasted with the fusion of powers in parliamentary and semi-presidential systems, where the executive and legislative branches overlap.

Senate Upper house of a bicameral legislature

A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or chamber of a bicameral legislature. The name comes from the ancient Roman Senate, so-called as an assembly of the senior and therefore considered wiser and more experienced members of the society or ruling class.

Legislature Deliberative assembly that makes laws

A legislature is an assembly with the authority to make laws for a political entity such as a country or city. They are often contrasted with the executive and judicial powers of government.

Judicial independence is the concept that the judiciary should be independent from the other branches of government. That is, courts should not be subject to improper influence from the other branches of government or from private or partisan interests. Judicial independence is important to the idea of separation of powers.

Bicameralism is a type of legislature, one divided into two separate assemblies, chambers, or houses, known as a bicameral legislature. Bicameralism is distinguished from unicameralism, in which all members deliberate and vote as a single group. As of 2015, about 40% of world's national legislatures are bicameral, and about 60% are unicameral.

A constitutional convention is an informal and uncodified tradition that is followed by the institutions of a state. In some states, notably those Commonwealth of Nations states that follow the Westminster system and whose political systems derive from British constitutional law, most government functions are guided by constitutional convention rather than by a formal written constitution. In these states, actual distribution of power may be markedly different from those the formal constitutional documents describe. In particular, the formal constitution often confers wide discretionary powers on the head of state that, in practice, are used only on the advice of the head of government, and in some cases not at all.

Tricameralism is the practice of having three legislative or parliamentary chambers. It is contrasted with unicameralism and bicameralism, each of which is far more common.

Speaker (politics) Presiding officer of a national assembly, legislative body

The speaker of a deliberative assembly, especially a legislative body, is its presiding officer, or the chair. The title was first used in 1377 in England.

Bill (law) Proposed law

A bill is proposed legislation under consideration by a legislature. A bill does not become law until it is passed by the legislature as well as, in most cases, approved by the executive. Once a bill has been enacted into law, it is called an act of the legislature, or a statute. Bills are introduced in the legislature and are discussed, debated and voted upon.

An upper house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house. The house formally designated as the upper house is usually smaller and often has more restricted power than the lower house. A legislature composed of only one house is described as unicameral.

French Parliament Bicameral legislature of the French Republic

The French Parliament is the bicameral legislature of the French Republic, consisting of the Senate and the National Assembly. Each assembly conducts legislative sessions at separate locations in Paris: the Senate meets in the Palais du Luxembourg and the National Assembly convenes at Palais Bourbon.

Federalist No. 78 Most-cited Federalist Paper; by Alexander Hamilton and about the Supreme Court

Federalist No. 78 is an essay by Alexander Hamilton, the seventy-eighth of The Federalist Papers. Like all of The Federalist papers, it was published under the pseudonym Publius.

A dual mandate is the practice in which elected officials serve in more than one elected or other public position simultaneously. This practice is sometimes known as double jobbing in Britain and cumul des mandats in France; not to be confused with double dipping in the United States. Thus, if someone who is already mayor of a town or city councillor becomes elected as MP or senator at the national or state legislature and retains both positions, this is a dual mandate.

A legislative session is the period of time in which a legislature, in both parliamentary and presidential systems, is convened for purpose of lawmaking, usually being one of two or more smaller divisions of the entire time between two elections. In each country the procedures for opening, ending, and in between sessions differs slightly. A session may last for the full term of the legislature or the term may consist of a number of sessions. These may be of fixed duration, such as a year, or may be used as a parliamentary procedural device. A session of the legislature is brought to an end by an official act of prorogation. In either event, the effect of prorogation is generally the clearing of all outstanding matters before the legislature.

Fusion of powers is a feature of some parliamentary forms of government where different branches of government are intermingled, typically the executive and legislative branches. It is contrasted with the separation of powers found in presidential and semi-presidential forms of government where the legislative and executive powers are in origin separated by popular vote. Fusion of powers exists in many, if not a majority of, parliamentary democracies, and does so by design. However, in all modern democratic polities the judiciary does not possess legislative or executive powers.

Constitution of the United Kingdom Principles, institutions and law of political governance in the United Kingdom

The Constitution of the United Kingdom or British constitution comprises the written and unwritten arrangements that establish the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as a political body. Unlike in most countries, no attempt has been made to codify such arrangements into a single document. Thus, it is known as an uncodified constitution. This enables the constitution to be easily changed as no provisions are formally entrenched. However, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom recognises that there are constitutional principles, including parliamentary sovereignty, the rule of law, democracy and upholding international law.

Separation of powers in the United Kingdom

The concept of the separation of powers has been applied to the United Kingdom and the nature of its executive, judicial and legislative functions. Historically, the apparent merger of the executive and the legislature, with a powerful Prime Minister drawn from the largest party in parliament and usually with a safe majority, led theorists to contend that the separation of powers is not applicable to the United Kingdom. However, in recent years it does seem to have been adopted as a necessary part of the UK constitution.

Parliamentary sovereignty is a concept in the constitutional law of some parliamentary democracies. It holds that the legislative body has absolute sovereignty and is supreme over all other government institutions, including executive or judicial bodies. It also holds that the legislative body may change or repeal any previous legislation and so it is not bound by written law or by precedent.


  1. Little, T.H.; Ogle, D.B. (2006). The Legislative Branch of State Government: People, Process, and Politics . ABC-CLIO's about state government. ABC-CLIO. p.  4. ISBN   978-1-85109-761-6 . Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  2. Parliament of Canada: Senate: Senators.
  3. Parliament of Canada: Guide to the Canadian House of Commons: The Role of a Member of Parliament.
  4. "Chambre des députés - Le Parlement haitien". Le Parlement haitien.
  5. "Socialist Constitution". Chapter IV, Section 1, Article 89. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  6. 사회주의헌법 (in Korean). 제6장, 제1절, 제89조. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-04-17. Retrieved 2014-04-12.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)