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The Business of JudgingSelected Essays and Speeches$
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Tom Bingham

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198299127

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198299127.001.0001

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A Criminal Code: Must We Wait for Ever? *

A Criminal Code: Must We Wait for Ever? *

(p.295) 4 A Criminal Code: Must We Wait for Ever?*
The Business of Judging

Tom Bingham

Oxford University Press

This chapter calls for the enactment of a comprehensive, modern, and intelligible code of criminal law. Most countries in the world, including Britain's former colonies, have such a code. The criminal law was the obvious candidate for codification. So a Criminal Code team was set up, notably including Professor Sir John Smith, whom most would gladly hail as the outstanding criminal lawyer of the time. A code was produced and published in 1985; it was revised and expanded in 1989. It has very largely withstood the appraisal and criticism to which it has been properly subjected, and has in general commanded respect and support. However, the code has not been enacted, not for want of confidence in its objects or its contents, but for lack of parliamentary time, a powerful but not, surely, an insuperable obstacle. The Law Commission has tried, with indifferent success, to achieve what it can on a partial, piecemeal basis.

Keywords:   Britain, enactment, Criminal Code, criminal law, codification, John Smith, Law Commission

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