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A codification is the systematic summary of the legal provisions of a legal area in a uniform body of law . In this, the respective area of ​​law should be conclusively regulated, in principle excluding further legal sources. The principle of completeness still requires a structured structure and a consistent set of terminology. Classic representatives are the codifications of the German Civil Code and the Code of Civil Procedure . The term was coined by the English lawyer and social reformer Jeremy Bentham .

On the other hand, if the summary lacks the organizing system , or if it is simply composed of quotations from other legal texts, it is referred to as a “ compilation ”. Classical representatives here are the components of the so-called Corpus iuris civilis , such as the digests . The Roman-Germanic legal system is largely characterized by codification, whereas common law only knows compilations of laws.

The purpose of a codification is to make the rules applicable to the relevant area of ​​life more readily available and understandable by summarizing them compactly and relating them to one another.

The codifications that are important today can be divided into two groups:

In German law, the best-known process of codification was the summary of civil law in the Civil Code at the end of the 19th century. The - not yet completed - summary of further parts of social law in the Social Security Code is currently planned. The codification of scattered environmental law in an environmental code has long been required.

In Roman antiquity, the Twelve Tables law established around 450 BC. It was the result of previous class struggles (450–287 BC), in which the plebeians had fought for political co-determination, civil law equality and participation in the economic gain of expansion against the patricians . A large number of other codifications followed with the beginning of late antiquity under Diocletian and later Justinian . The codices they created were of a compilation nature, however, as they intended to preserve classic legal law , but they also served to compile imperial laws (imperial constitutions).

In the Islamic world, the applicable law was compiled by scholars in law books as part of Fiqh very early on , but a codification of the law in the form of state law books did not take place until the second half of the 19th century, with the one arising between 1869 and 1876 Mecelle , who regulated civil law, made the start. In Saudi Arabia, Islamic law has not yet been codified because such a codification is viewed as an inadmissible state curtailment of the judge's freedom of choice, who should base his judgment solely on the Koran and the Sunna .


Web links

Wiktionary: Codification  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Hans Hermann Seiler : History and the present in civil law. Heymanns, Cologne 2005, ISBN 3-452-25387-2 , pp. 315–328.
  2. Bernd Mertens: Legislative Art in the Age of Codifications. Theory and practice of legislative engineering from a historical-comparative perspective . Tübingen 2004, p. 497 ff .; Georg Kramer-McInnis: The “legislator of the world”, Jeremy Bentham's foundation of classical utilitarianism . Zurich / St. Gallen 2008, p. 168 ff.
  3. ^ Wolfgang Kunkel , Martin Schermaier : Roman legal history. 14th edition. UTB, Cologne / Vienna 2005, § 11, pp. 208–223. ( The legal development of the late period up to Justinian ).
  4. ^ Jan Dirk Harke : Roman law. From the classical period to the modern codifications. ( Floor plans of the right ). Beck, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-406-57405-4 , § 1 no. 21 (p. 16 f.).
  5. ^ On the debate held there, see Frank E. Vogel: Islamic Law and Legal System. Studies of Saudi Arabia. Brill, Leiden u. a. 2000, ISBN 90-04-11062-3 , pp. 309-361.