Glossary of terms

This glossary provides definitions of the key terms used on this website and throughout the Indicators for Democratic Parliaments.

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Term Definition

A body of rules of action or conduct prescribed by a controlling authority (usually passed by parliament), which has a binding legal force and must be obeyed and followed by citizens, subject to sanctions or legal consequences. Also, the whole body of binding customs, practices or rules of a community prescribed or formally recognized and enforced by a controlling authority. See also: Act of parliament, Bill, Law-making and Legislation.


The legislative process or the act of legislating, i.e. the process by which laws are made. See also: Act of parliament, Law and Legislation.


See: Member of parliament (MP).

Leader of the opposition

Depending on the structure of the institution, the leader of the party that has the second largest membership in each chamber, also referred to as the “opposition”. The leader of the opposition is responsible for leading opposition debates, setting the agenda for the opposition, and shaping the opposition’s general vision and priorities in coordination with other members of that party or coalition. See also: Opposition.

Legal framework

In this publication, “legal framework” is an inclusive term referring to the constitutional, legal and/or regulatory provisions that apply in a given country. Its use recognizes the existence of different systems in different countries and the fact that, under some systems, there may be provisions on a particular issue at more than one level (e.g. in the constitution and in law).


A law or a set of laws that have been passed by parliament. The word is also used to describe the act of making a new law. See also: Act of parliament, Law and Law-making.

Legislative drafting

The act of writing a bill or an amendment to a law. Also referred to as “legislative technique”.


See: Member of parliament (MP).


See: Parliament.


An evolving acronym that stands for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning and intersex”. The '+' represents minority gender identities and sexualities not explicitly included in the term “LGBTQI”.