use cancancan and define all your actions in app/models/ability. If you want to use load_resource, you should separately define: index (with hash), show/edit/update/destroy (with block or hash), new/create (with hash). For nested resources just write parent association

Note that following next cannot rule will override a previous can rule, so it is enough to set can :manage, :all and than write what cannot :destroy, Project

Define abilities

can :read, Article # autorize! :read, Article will return true
can :crud, Article # authorize! :read/:create/:update/:destroy, Article will return true
aliase_action :index, :show, to: :read | :new, to: :create | :edit. to: :update
can :manage, Article # authorize! :any_action, Article will return true
can [:update, :destroy], [Post, Comment] # array notation

Hash of conditions

# can read only posts that belongs to user
can :read, Post, user_id:

Defining with a block is evaluated only when instance is passed (for example not in index action when class is used, ie if you call can? :update, Project it will return true)

can :update, Project do |project|

Defining with a block without other arguments can be used for defining Abilities and roles in database

rails g model Permission user_id:integer name:string subject_class:string subject_id:integer action:string description:text

# app/models/ability.rb
class Ability
  include CanCan::Ability
  can do |action, subject_class, subject|
    # action: :read, subject_class: User, subject: 1 or nil

Example that only admins can change, for example company_id, with can_change_user_company_id

# in models/ability.rb
can :can_change_user_company_id, User if user.admin?

<!-- users/_form.html.erb -->
<% if can? :can_change_user_company_id, @user %>
  <!-- role checkboxes go here -->
<% end %>

# users_controller.rb
def update
  authorize! :can_change_user_company_id, @user if params[:user][:company_id]
  # ...


Install with gem and include in controller

# Gemfile
gem 'pundit'

# app/controllers/application_controller.rb
class ApplicationController < ActionController::Base
  include Pundit

# generate default app/policies/application_policy.rb
rails g pundit:install

Sample ruby poro class

class PostPolicy
  attr_reader :user, :post

  def initialize(user, post)
    @user = user
    @post = post

  def update?
    user.admin? or not post.published?

Pundit will assume that:

  • class has the same name as model + suffix Policy
  • first argument is a current_user (called where it was invoked) and stored in user.
  • second argument is object and stored in record (if you use generated ApplicationPolicy).
  • define methods like method name plus ?

When using authorize you can set first argument as a class authorize Post or a symbol for headless policy. Second argument could be action name: authorize @post, :destroy?. To specify Policy class you can use authorize @post, policy_class: PostPolicy

In controller authorize @post inside def update action will instantiate policy with current_user and call method with ? at the end, something like

unless, @post).update?
  raise Pundit::NotAuthorizedError, "not allowed to update? this #{@post.inspect}"

In view, you can use if policy(@post).update? method to check if current_user is authorized.

Headless policies

Headless policies, if you do not have corresponding model.

# app/policies/dashboard_policy.rb
class DashboardPolicy <, :dashboard)
  # ...

and use like

<% if policy(:dashboard).show? %>
  <%= link_to 'Dashboard', dashboard_path %>
<% end %>


To define scope on a model for which current_user have access, punding assumes:

  • class has name Scope and is nested under the policy class
  • first argument is user and second argument is a scope
class PostPolicy < ApplicationPolicy
  class Scope < Scope
    def resolve
      if user.admin?
        scope.where(published: true)

  def update?
    user.admin? or not record.published?

and you can use like

def index
  # @posts =, Post).resolve
  @posts = policy_scope(Post)

def show
  @post = policy_scope(Post).find(params[:id])

To check if authorize is called you can use verify_authorized so it raises error if authorize is not called.

# app/controllers/application_controller.rb
class ApplicationController < ActionController::Base
  include Pundit
  after_action :verify_authorized

Also you can check if user exists in ApplicationPolicy (so you not need to check in other policies).

class ApplicationPolicy
  def initialize(user, record)
    raise Pundit::NotAuthorizedError, "must be logged in" unless user
    @user   = user
    @record = record

  class Scope
    attr_reader :user, :scope

    def initialize(user, scope)
      raise Pundit::NotAuthorizedError, "must be logged in" unless user
      @user = user
      @scope = scope

Use alias after method are defined

class MyPolicy < ApplicationPolicy
  def create?
  alias new? create?

Action Policy is similar to pundit

Generate application policy

rails generate action_policy:install
rails generate action_policy:policy post

Use in controller (policy class is infered from model name, method infers from action name and current_user becomes user).

  # You can check in before action
  def _set_post
    authorize! @post

  # or with specific method
  authorize! @post, to: :update?
  # or with specific policy
  authorize! @post, with: CustomPostPolicy

  # bang will raise error if not allowed
  rescue_from ActionPolicy::Unauthorized do |ex|
    # Exception object contains the following information
    ex.policy #=> policy class, e.g. UserPolicy
    ex.rule #=> applied rule, e.g. :show?

  # make sure we call authorize! during the action, use this after_action

or use in view

<% if allowed_to? :edit?, post %>

For non models, services you need to pass any object and policy class

<% if allowed_to? :index?, Object, with: TranslationsPolicy %>
  <%= link_to 'Translations', translations_path %>
<% end %>

Define policy using user and record instance methods. Remember to use ? as suffix for method names.

class CommentPolicy < ApplicationPolicy
  # If you have some pages without user, you can define that with allow_nil: true
  # do not define on ApplicationPolicy since you need to check user.nil? in
  # every method... For view, you can check current_user before policy check
  authorize :user, allow_nil: true

  # you can call other policies, synonim as `check?`
  def update?
    user.admin? || allowed_to?(:update?,

  # pass fast or fail fast with `allow` and `deny`
  def show?
    allow! if user.admin?


  # alias synonims so you do not need to repeat dry, NOTE that is will call if
  # method exists, so alias is used only when method missing
  # By default, ActionPolicy::Base adds one alias: alias_rule :new?, to: :create?.
  alias_rule :edit?, :destroy?, to: :update?

  # default rule is :manage (not matching anything, defaults are index? create?
  def manage?