Dalhousie Law Journal


Canadian Criminal Code, politics, legal history, codification of the law, common law, reform, legislation


Brown gives an interesting and readable account of the background of the 1892 Code and its genesis in the politics of the day. His preface and six short chapters are followed by an epilogue, a short biographical note and footnotes. Chapter One deals with the ambiguity of the term "code". Clearly, the 1892 Code was not a codification in the civilian tradition as exemplified, for example, in the Napoleonic Code, nor was it even a code such as Bentham might have drafted. It was a "code" only in the loose sense in which.the word was used by English and Canadian legislators in the nineteenth century to describe a consolidation and systematization of statutory law combined with some reform legislation by way of filling gaps, incorporating some of the common law or expressly altering case law relating to a particular issue. Indeed, in English Canada in 1892, little distinction was made between a systematized consolidation and a codification of the law.

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