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A systematic and comprehensive compilation of laws, rules, or regulations that are consolidated and classified according to subject matter.

Many states have published official codes of all laws in force, including the Common Law and statutes as judicially interpreted, that have been compiled by code commissions and enacted by legislatures. The U.S. Code (U.S.C.) is the compilation of federal laws.


n. a collection of written laws gathered together, usually covering specific subject matter. Thus, a state may have a civil code, corporations code, education code, evidence code, health and safety codes, insurance code, labor code, motor vehicle code, penal code, revenue and taxation code, and so forth. Federal statutes which deal with legal matters are grouped together in codes. There are also statutes which are not codified. Despite their apparent permanence codes are constantly being amended by legislative bodies. Some codes are administrative and have the force of law even though they were created and adopted by regulatory agencies and are not actually statutes or laws. (See: law, statute)


noun arrangement of statutes, body of laws, bylaw, canon, capitulary, charter, civil code, codification, codified law, collection, collection of laws, collection of statutes, compilation, compilation of law, compilation of laws, constitution, corpus juris, digest, enactment, enacttent of rules, established law, established order, firm prinniple, formulary, formulation, guide, guideline, laws, legal code, legislation, lex, maxim, model, norm, ordinance, precedent, precept, prescript, prescription, regulation by law, regulation by statute, regulations, rubric, rules, ruling, settled law, standard, statute, statute book, statute law, subsidiary law, system of law, system of rules, written constitution, written law
Associated concepts: building code, civil code, code of crimmnal procedure, code of ethics, code of fair competition, Code of Hammurabi, code of judicial conduct, code of law, code of procedure, code of professional responsibility, code pleading, criminal code, ethics code, Napoleonic code, penal code, probate code
Foreign phrases: Ad ea quae frequentius accidunt jura adaptantur.Laws are adapted to those cases which most commonly occur.
See also: act, bylaw, canon, conduct, criterion, digest, enactment, ethics, guide, jargon, law, ordinance, pandect, precept, protocol, regulation, rubric, rule, statute



CODE, legislation. Signifies in general a collection of laws. It is a name given by way of eminence to a collection of such laws made by the legislature. Among the most noted may be mentioned the following:

CODE, JUSTINIAN, civil law. A collection of the constitutions of the emperors, from Adrian to Justinian; the greater part of those from Adrian to Constantine are mere rescripts; those from Constantine to Justinian are edicts or laws, properly speaking.
     2. The code is divided into twelve books, which are subdivided into titles, in which the constitutions are collected under proper heads. They are placed in chronological order, but often disjointed. At the head of each constitution is placed the name of the emperor who is the author, and that of the person to whom it is addressed. The date is at the end. Several of these constitutions, which were formerly in the code were lost, it is supposed by the neglect of "copyists. Some of them have been restored by modern authors, among whom may be mentioned Charondas, Cugas, and Contius, who translated them from Greek, versions.

CODE, OF LOUISIANA. In 1822, Peter Derbigny, Edward Livingston, and Moreau Lislet, were selected by the legislature to revise and amend the civil code, and to add to it such laws still in force as were not included therein. They were authorized to add a system of commercial law, and a code of practice. The code the prepared having been adopted, was promulgated in 1824, under the title of the "Civil Code of the State of Louisiana."
     2. The code is based on the Code Napoleon, with proper and judicious modifications, suitable for the state of Louisiana. It is composed of three books: 1. the first treats of persons; 2. the second of things, and of the different modifications of property; 3. and the third of the different modes of acquiring the property of things. It contains 3522 articles, numbered from the beginning, for the convenience of reference.
     3. This code, it is said, contains many inaccurate definitions. The legislature modified and changed many of the provisions relating to the positive legislation, but adopted the definitions and abstract doctrines of the code without material alterations. From this circumstance, as well as from the inherent difficulty of the subject, the positive provisions of the code are often at variance with the theoretical part, which was intended to elucidate them. 13 L. R. 237.
     4. This code went into operation on the 20th day of May,. 1825. 11 L. R. 60. It is in both the French and English languages; and in construing it, it is a rule that when the expressions used in the French text of the code are more comprehensive than those used in English, or vice versa, the more enlarged sense will be taken, as thus full effect will be given to both clauses. 2 N. S. 582.

CODE, NAPOLEON. The Code Civil of France, enacted into law during the reign of Napoleon, bore his name until the restoration of the Bourbons when it was deprived of that name, and it is now cited Code Civil.