Penal code legal definition of penal code
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Related to penal code: Model Penal Code
penal code a code setting out all or at least most of the main principles of the criminal law of a system. In the USA many states have turned the common law into codes or partial codes. Under the influence of the NAPOLEONIC CODE, the Code d'Instruction Criminelle of 1808 and the Code Pénal of 1810, many continental European states have adopted penal codes that require from time to time to be revised. The UK has generally not followed this course but there is a trend towards it - the English Law Commission proposes reform around the idea of criminal code and an unofficial but highly influential draft code has been published by eminent lawyers in Scotland.