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one of the forms of systematization of laws and other legislative instruments regulating some field of social relations. Codification is the most efficient and highest form of systematization: through codification the laws in force are separated from those that are no longer binding, and completely new norms in the given branch are created. As a rule, codification is concluded by the creation of a new consolidated (systematized) act built on uniform principles (most often in the form of a code).
Well-known historical examples of codification include the Justinian codification in Roman times, the French Civil Code of 1804, Russkaia Pravda (Russian Law), and the Russian Sudebnik (Law Code) of 1497.
In the USSR, the 1960’s and the early 1970’s saw the comprehensive codification of legislation in various fields of social relations. During these years the Basic Principles of the Legislation of the USSR and the Union Republics were adopted in civil law and judicial proceedings, criminal law and judicial proceedings, and judicial administration; also adopted were basic codes in such areas as family law, labor legislation, land law, and water use legislation. In the Union republics new codes of laws were adopted (for example, codes of labor laws, codes on marriage and the family, and civil codes).
Of great importance is the codification of international law: the systematization of international legal rules in force allows for more precise definitions and for the correction and removal of all existing contradictions. A distinction is made between an official codification, which is conducted jointly by all or several states (including intergovernmental organizations), and an unofficial or scientific codification, conducted by international and national social organizations (the Institute of International Law, the International Law Association) or individual jurists. A general codification of all branches of international law has not yet been implemented. After World War II, intensive work was done on a partial codification of individual institutes of international law. In the 19th and 20th centuries the Hague Conventions were such a codification; these conventions concerned the laws and customs of war and the settlement of disputes by peaceful means. After World War II, important instruments adopted on the initiative of the USSR included the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and 1958 and the Vienna Conventions of 1961 and 1963 on Diplomatic and Consular Relations.
The codification of socialist international legal principles and norms has been implemented in such multilateral treaties and agreements as the Warsaw Pact of 1955; the Charter of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance; the Convention on Legal Capacity, Privileges, and Immunities of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance; and the General Conditions of Deliveries of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance of 1968. Codifications have also been implemented in bilateral agreements between socialist countries in the fields of science, culture, and public health and social security.