Legal policy consists of principles the judges consider the law must uphold, such as: that law should serve the public interest, that it should be fair and just, etc. Different elements of legal policy, for example the safeguarding of personal liberty and the need for state security, may conflict.

Public policy impacts what the government does and how governmental decisions are made. It determines the actions that a government chooses to implement or emphasize, as well as those that it decides not to act on. The public policy definition is broad, encompassing not only laws and regulations, but also how resources are allocated and what is prioritized. Elected officials and governmental entities simultaneously shape and implement public policy.