Generality of the Law

Lat. a generali sensu; Lat. generalis “general”, sensus “thought, idea”.

In law, the argument of the generality of the law posits that the law must be applied in all its extension, “we must not introduce distinctions where the law does not”. General terms should not be given a particular meaning. In other words, law is non-negotiable. Possible exceptions must be explicitly laid down in the relevant regulation, for example, while generally prohibited, the consumption of canna­bis may be tolerated in some specific places complying with the existing regulation.

In public places, people’s behavior must comply with law plus specific rules of the place. Rules are by nature more flexible than laws, but, when strictly enforced, these rules also obey the principle of generality. If the rule of the school states in general terms that “the use of mobile phones is prohibited during the course”, then its application is general, and admits no exception or distinction. One cannot argue that the regulation is especially valid for “the lower grades”, or that an exception must be made for students “urgently managing their bank account”, or for “students who have a good academic standing”.

S. Strict meaning