3Part B Policy and rule making
Formal rules do not just appear from nowhere! In this part we will be exploring how such rules are the product of a process of policy making. As an example, we will be using the Irish Government's policy on banning smoking in the workplace, and the law which arose out of this policy. Part B will also provide you with an opportunity to apply some of the reasoning skills you have been developing by applying your understanding of the Irish law to some factual situations.
One of the most obvious differences between the development of a custom within a community and the introduction of a rule which applies to that community, is that the rule will almost invariably have been the result of a policy decision. In other words, at some point in time those with authority to make a rule will have decided that the behaviour of those in the community should be guided or controlled in a certain way, and that a rule is necessary in order to do that. This may be for a number of reasons. For example, it may be that the behaviour in question is not something which people in the community will do voluntarily. Or it may be that the rule-maker has changed its view on the propriety of certain behaviour and wants to bring about change on ideological grounds. (This is what happens when control of a Parliament, as the rule-maker, shifts from one political party to another as the result of a general election.) Or it may be because a rule change is necessary in order to bring about a socially or economically desirable outcome for the community: there are many other reasons.