A criminal code (or penal code) is a document which compiles all, or a significant amount of, a particular jurisdiction's criminal law. Typically a criminal code will contain offences which are recognised in the jurisdiction, penalties which might be imposed for these offences and some general provisions (such as definitions and prohibitions on retroactive prosecution).
Criminal codes are relatively common in civil law jurisdictions, which tend to build legal systems around codes and principles which are relatively abstract and apply them on a case by case basis. Conversely they are rare in common law jurisdictions.
The proposed introduction of a criminal code in England and Wales was a significant project of the Law Commission from 1968 to 2008. Due to the strong tradition of precedent in the jurisdiction and consequently the large number of binding judgements and ambiguous 'common law offences', as well as the often inconsistent nature of English law - the creation of a satisfactory code became very difficult. The project was officially abandoned in 2008 although as of 2009 it has been revived.
In the United States a Model Penal Code exists which is not itself law but which provides the basis for the criminal law of many states. Individual states often choose to make use of criminal codes which are often based, to a varying extent on the model code. Title 18 of the United States Code is the criminal code for federal crimes. However, Title 18 does not contain many of the general provisions concerning criminal law that are found in the criminal codes of many so-called "civil law" countries.
Criminal codes are generally supported for their introduction of consistency to legal systems and for making the criminal law more accessible to laypeople. A code may help avoid a chilling effect where legislation and case law appears to be either inaccessible or beyond comprehension to non-lawyers. Alternatively critics have argued that codes are too rigid and that they fail to provide enough flexibility for the law to be effective.
The term "penal code" (code pénal) derives from the French Penal Code of 1791.
Other articles related to "criminal code, criminal codes, codes, code, criminal":
... Australian criminal codes (The states of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia do not use codes the Commonwealth is in transition.) Criminal Code ... Criminal Code of Finland French Penal Code German Criminal Code Hungarian Penal Code in English, status of 18 August 2005 Operative Hungarian Penal Code Indian Penal Code Iranian Criminal ... Mexican Penal Code, enacted on August 14th, 1931 ...
... policing and lobby the various Attorneys General in each province to lay charges under the Criminal Code since the consent of the AG is a required before charges under the Criminal Code of Canada ... or distribution of hate propaganda under the Criminal Code ... no charges were laid against the Klan under the Criminal Code ...
... The current Criminal Code of Azerbaijan came into force in September 2000, replacing the older Criminal Code of 1960 which had been based on the principles of Soviet law ... Article 1 of the Criminal Code states that "the Criminal legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan consists of this Code ... New laws defining criminal responsibility are subject to inclusion in this Code" this is characteristic of civil law legal systems such as France and Italy ...
... had lied to the Committee, then an offence under Section 57 of the Queenslands Criminal Code ... prosecute Nuttall under section 57 of the Criminal Code ... Parliament to revoke the relevant section of the Criminal Code so Parliament could deal with such matters itself under contempt of parliament provisions ...
... Bill C-46 Criminal Code of Canada Section 342 of the Criminal Code of Canada deals with theft, forgery of credit cards and unauthorized use of computer ...
Famous quotes containing the words code and/or criminal:
“Motion or change, and identity or rest, are the first and second secrets of nature: Motion and Rest. The whole code of her laws may be written on the thumbnail, or the signet of a ring.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“No political party can ever make prohibition effective. A political party implies an adverse, an opposing, political party. To enforce criminal statutes implies substantial unanimity in the community. This is the result of the jury system. Hence the futility of party prohibition.”
—Rutherford Birchard Hayes (18221893)