BY-LAW, or Bye-law (by- being used in the sense of subordinate or secondary, cf. by-path), a regulation made by councils, boards, corporations and companies, usually under statutory power, for the preservation of order and good government within some place or jurisdiction. When made under authority of a statute, by-laws must generally, before they come into operation, be submitted to some confirming authority for sanction and approval; when approved, they are as binding as enacted laws. By-laws must be reasonable in themselves; they must not be retrospective nor contrary to the general law of the land. By various statutes powers are given to borough, county and district councils, to make by-laws for various purposes; corporate bodies, also, are empowered by their charters to make by-laws which are binding on their members. Such by-laws must be in harmony with the objects of the society and must not infringe or limit the powers and duties of its officers.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)