The office that produces the Boletín Oficial del Estado (BOE, official state bulletin) is a public body attached to the ministry responsible for running the general public administration in Spain (Ministerio de la Presidencia). The office compiles prints, distributes and sells the official state bulletin as part of its remit to publish and disseminate laws and public acts.
The office also maintains the Iberlex database, which contains: Spanish national legislation; laws passed by Spain's autonomous communities, published in the state bulletin (from 1960 onwards); European legislation applicable in Spain, published in the Official Journal of the European Union (from 1952 onwards).
This database is the source of the Spanish legislation in N-Lex.
The 1978 Constitution: the highest law in the Spanish legal system.
Laws and legislative acts
The Spanish legal system distinguishes between three types of law:
Implementation laws (Leyes organicas): laws implementing fundamental rights and public freedoms, approving the statutes of the autonomous communities, and implementing the general electoral system;
Laws (Leyes): laws adopted by parliament in plenary session by a simple majority, not concerning matters governed by an implementation law.
Royal decree-laws (Reales decretos-leyes): acts adopted by the government in exceptional circumstances and emergencies. The scope of these acts is restricted; they cannot relate to the functioning of the key State institutions, the rights, duties and freedoms of individual citizens, the autonomous community system, or general electoral law;
Royal legislative decrees (Reales decretos-legislativos): the Spanish Parliament can authorise the government to adopt legislative acts on certain highly complex technical matters outside the exclusive jurisdiction of implementation law.
These laws have the same force as laws approved by the national parliament, but apply only in the relevant region. There is no difference in force, only in scope. Each autonomous community has different legislative powers, described in its statute of autonomy.
Regulations (El reglamento)
Regulations can be adopted by the central government, governments of the autonomous communities and the administration. Their function is to implement, develop or supplement laws. The most important regulations in the Spanish legal system are royal decrees, ministerial decrees (órdenes ministeriales), resolutions, instructions and circulars.
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