Codifying involves organizing laws or regulations into a systematic code. Codification is the process of converting judicial rulings or legislative acts into codified legislation. The codification of laws aids in the identification of inconsistencies, duplicate laws, and unclear laws. It also makes it easier to find and analyze previous court decisions.
Judicial codifications are official lists of rules that determine how courts should decide cases before them. These lists often include not only substantive rules on what causes of action can be brought against whom under what circumstances, but also procedural rules such as the order in which issues in trial-type cases should be decided. Judicial codifications are developed by judges and lower court officials within their jurisdictions and generally do not go through the normal legislative process. However, some states have constitutional provisions guaranteeing access to justice, which may require certain types of actions to be put into writing for clarity and ease of application.
Non-judicial codifications are compilations of statutes or regulations produced by organizations other than courts. Examples include bibliographic catalogs that list statutes and case law, and organizational charts that list who reports to whom within companies. Non-judicial codifiers do not produce rules directly applicable to cases before them, but instead provide information about the content of existing laws.
Laws can be codified in many different ways.
This procedure does not always result in the creation of new legislation; rather, it organizes current law, generally by subject, into a code. In the United States, for example, acts of Congress are codified chronologically in the order in which they became law. Each section of the act is given its own number, and all sections relating to a single topic are placed together into one article. Other countries have their own systems for codification. The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., is the national library for the United States. It is administered by the Librarian of Congress, who is an employee of the federal government.
Codification is the process of committing legal norms to writing form. It is generally cited in a single sentence, together with progressive growth. Codification is frequently regarded as advantageous in terms of improving certainty via the rule of law and the growth, coherence, and sophistication of international law. However, some scholars argue that it also has certain disadvantages such as preventing the introduction of new ideas or methods into law.
In general, there are two types of codifications: substantive and procedural. A substantive code lists the elements that make up a legal act or transaction (such as treaties or military commissions). A procedural code describes the procedure that must be followed in order to take advantage of one of the elements listed in the substantive code (for example, how to request extradition).
Substantive codes can be divided into three categories according to the level at which they operate: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Primary substantive codes list every element of a legal act or transaction and cannot be modified except by an equivalent power. Secondary substantive codes only list certain elements that cannot be modified except by an equivalent power. Tertiary substantive codes list yet more elements than secondary codes but allow for some modification. For example, a treaty might be considered a secondary substantive code because it lists certain elements that cannot be altered except by another treaty between equal powers. But it could also be considered a tertiary substantive code because some of these elements can be modified by implementing legislation or executive orders.
Codification in law is the process of collecting and restating a jurisdiction's law in specific areas, generally by subject, to establish a legal code, i.e., a codex (book) of law. Codification may be done as part of a state constitution's process for amending its laws or simply as a matter of convenience. The result is that the codified material can be referenced more easily because it is collected together into one place rather than having to be found throughout multiple statutes.
When a country adopts a codified system of laws, they are called "codifications". The word "code" means an abstract or summarized version of some body of knowledge, so a code is a set of principles, rules, or other information presented in a condensed form. Codes include statutory law, common law, and judicial decisions. A codification service will often publish a book containing an official list of the laws currently in effect in a given state or nation, known as a "statute book". Other useful sources of information about codified systems include case law and periodicals published by government agencies that report on new laws or changes to existing laws.
In the United States, most states have adopted a codified system of laws.