While its function as an educational tool may seem quite complex, it is not difficult to apply in everyday life with a group of young people. The Scout law is deliberately phrased in simple, everyday terms, often referring to qualities, so that each young person can easily understand what is meant and can do his or her best to reflect these in everyday life. As the Scout law is a personal code of living and a collective one, it needs to be the foundation on which the Scout unit is structured and operates if the young people are to be helped to discover for themselves the values on which it is based. Concretely, the Scout law translates into the rules of the group: the rights and duties of each member, the sharing of responsibilities, decision-making processes, conflict management, and so on. Young people should be involved as much as possible, and in ways appropriate to their level of development, in establishing the rules of the group. For one thing, this helps them to deepen their understanding of the Scout law and, for another, young people have much less difficulty in accepting, even enforcing, rules that they have contributed to establishing. Evidently, the adult leader needs to ensure that rules concerning safety measures, etc., are included.

The Scout law provides an excellent evaluation tool, both in terms of bringing out the connections between the degree to which the code of living was adhered to and what went well or badly with activities, camps, projects, group life, etc., and what could be improved; and in terms of a personal evaluation of the extent to which each young person feels he or she has made progress in reflecting the qualities. When a young person breaks a rule, he or she should be encouraged to reflect on whatever consequences it may have caused. The purpose is not to make the young person feel terrible, but to understand and, if possible, to remedy the situation.

The code of living applies to both adults and young people. The code of living is not a set of rules which apply only to young people because “they have got to respect rules”. The code of living reflects basic ethical principles or values which Scouting believes are valid in life in general. If the adults do not reflect the code of living, why should the young people?