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Legal code

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A legal code is a body of law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 written by a governmental body, such as a U.S. state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

, a Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 Province
Provinces and territories of Canada
The provinces and territories of Canada combine to make up the world's second-largest country by area. There are ten provinces and three territories...

 or German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 Bundesland
States of Germany
Germany is made up of sixteen which are partly sovereign constituent states of the Federal Republic of Germany. Land literally translates as "country", and constitutionally speaking, they are constituent countries...

 or a municipality. Whether authored or merely adopted by a municipality, it is typically, though not exclusively, enforced by the municipality
Municipality
A municipality is essentially an urban administrative division having corporate status and usually powers of self-government. It can also be used to mean the governing body of a municipality. A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district...

, as the Authority Having Jurisdiction.

Types of locally enforceable codes


include but are not limited to:
  • Building code
    Building code
    A building code, or building control, is a set of rules that specify the minimum acceptable level of safety for constructed objects such as buildings and nonbuilding structures. The main purpose of building codes are to protect public health, safety and general welfare as they relate to the...

     - enforced by building inspectors from the municipal building department
  • Fire code - enforced by the local fire prevention officers from the local fire department
  • Noise Control
    Noise pollution
    Noise pollution is excessive, displeasing human, animal or machine-created environmental noise that disrupts the activity or balance of human or animal life...

     Code - enforced by municipal bylaw
    Bylaw
    By-law can refer to a law of local or limited application passed under the authority of a higher law specifying what things may be regulated by the by-law...

     officers

Guideline codes


Some nation
Nation
A nation may refer to a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, and/or history. In this definition, a nation has no physical borders. However, it can also refer to people who share a common territory and government irrespective of their ethnic make-up...

al and regional governments may issue model codes, such as a model building code
Model building code
A model building code is a building code that is developed and maintained by a standards organization independent of the jurisdiction responsible for enacting the building code. A local government can choose to adopt a model building code as their own. This saves local governments the expense and...

. Examples include the National Building Code of Canada
National Building Code of Canada
The National Building Code of Canada is the model building code of Canada. It is issued by the Institute for Research In Construction ], a part of the National Research Council of Canada...

, the National Fire Code of Canada and Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

's MBO - Musterbauordnung. All three aforementioned examples are issued as guideline documents, which are then used by their Provinces
Provinces and territories of Canada
The provinces and territories of Canada combine to make up the world's second-largest country by area. There are ten provinces and three territories...

 and Bundesländer
States of Germany
Germany is made up of sixteen which are partly sovereign constituent states of the Federal Republic of Germany. Land literally translates as "country", and constitutionally speaking, they are constituent countries...

, respectively, as a baseline to author their own building codes, such as the Ontario Building Code (OBC) and fire codes, such as the Alberta Fire Code (AFC), respectively, which must then, in turn, also be adopted by the municipalities, before they become local law, which is then locally enforced by the municipalities. Usually, the municipality passes a by-law to adopt the code, so the same book applies across that whole territory or Province, etc.. Alternatively, a municipality may elect to issue its own version, such as The City of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver
Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

, which typically makes its own changes to the British Columbia Building Code (BCBC), and then issues its own Vancouver Building By-law, rather than to simply adopt the BCBC, as all other municipalities in British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

 do.

Code writing process


Typically, volunteers gather in committee
Committee
A committee is a type of small deliberative assembly that is usually intended to remain subordinate to another, larger deliberative assembly—which when organized so that action on committee requires a vote by all its entitled members, is called the "Committee of the Whole"...

s at the location of the issuing authority to write and edit the code. Volunteers in both codes and standards writing are generally considered to be stakeholders. The governing body is generally intended to ensure that no one type of stakeholder dominates in order to be able to produce a more balanced and legally defencible final document. General principles of law and philosophy prevailing in the region may also have an influence.

Influencing factors upon code writing process


Example legal codes that rely heavily on precedent and the opinions of prior jurists include English common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

 and U.S. Constitutional Law. By contrast most implementations of Islamic Shariah. Napoleonic Code
Napoleonic code
The Napoleonic Code — or Code Napoléon — is the French civil code, established under Napoléon I in 1804. The code forbade privileges based on birth, allowed freedom of religion, and specified that government jobs go to the most qualified...

, Chinese Law
Chinese law
Chinese law is one of the oldest legal traditions in the world. In the 20th and 21st century, law in China has been a complex mix of traditional Chinese approaches and Western influences....

 and German Law, emphasize very specific philosophical principles rooted in Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, French, Chinese, and German philosophy respectively - the role of precedent and prior jurists is much reduced and that of current judges enhanced - thus these can be seen as an ethical code
Ethical code
An ethical code is adopted by an organization in an attempt to assist those in the organization called upon to make a decision understand the difference between 'right' and 'wrong' and to apply this understanding to their decision...

 which applies to the jurists themselves. In construction, precedents may include experience gained through fire losses and structural collapse. Lessons learned can be incorporated into revised codes or updates to prevent further losses.

If a legal system is not controlled by a single institution, the legal code typically includes ways to balance the power of different participants (sometimes known as checks and balances). These measures can reduce the potential for one group of participants to develop a monopoly over the legal system. For example, in a representative democracy
Representative democracy
Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy...

, it may be required that elected officials make or vote on any changes to the law.

Apart from the foregoing, industry organisations tend to engage in attempts to influence the code writing process through participating in meeting
Meeting
In a meeting, two or more people come together to discuss one or more topics, often in a formal setting.- Definitions :An act or process of coming together as an assembly for a common purpose....

s of task committee
Committee
A committee is a type of small deliberative assembly that is usually intended to remain subordinate to another, larger deliberative assembly—which when organized so that action on committee requires a vote by all its entitled members, is called the "Committee of the Whole"...

s and groups and providing evidence to make their cases. An example is the fire sprinkler
Fire sprinkler
A fire sprinkler system is an active fire protection measure, consisting of a water supply system, providing adequate pressure and flowrate to a water distribution piping system, onto which fire sprinklers are connected...

 lobby
Lobbying
Lobbying is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies. Lobbying is done by various people or groups, from private-sector individuals or corporations, fellow legislators or government officials, or...

, which favours active fire protection
Active fire protection
Active fire protection is an integral part of fire protection. AFP is characterised by items and/or systems, which require a certain amount of motion and response in order to work, contrary to passive fire protection.-Fire suppression:...

, whereas members of the passive fire protection
Passive fire protection
Passive fire protection is an integral component of the three components of structural fire protection and fire safety in a building. PFP attempts to contain fires or slow the spread, through use of fire-resistant walls, floors, and doors...

 trades, for instance the International Firestop Council would argue the merits of its members' work. Stakeholders also include insurance
Insurance
In law and economics, insurance is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent, uncertain loss. Insurance is defined as the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another, in exchange for payment. An insurer is a company selling the...

 companies, who stand to gain by keeping the operating risks of buildings low, whereas a real-estate developer may seek to keep costs low
False economy
A false economy is an action that saves money at the beginning but which, over a longer period of time, results in more money being wasted than being saved...

.

Purpose of a legal code


Generally, a legal code serves the dual purpose of broadcasting a certain idea of public morality
Public morality
Public morality refers to moral and ethical standards enforced in a society, by law or police work or social pressure, and applied to public life, to the content of the media, and to conduct in public places...

 as well as technical fact, and disclosing the retribution
Retributive justice
Retributive justice is a theory of justice that considers that punishment, if proportionate, is a morally acceptable response to crime, with an eye to the satisfaction and psychological benefits it can bestow to the aggrieved party, its intimates and society....

 that the society, via the enforcing body, will visit on those who offend that morality. As an example, penalties are imposed for constructing an unsafe building
Building
In architecture, construction, engineering, real estate development and technology the word building may refer to one of the following:...

 or engaging in actions that will negatively impact the safety of a building. The severity of the punishment is intended to be commensurate with the severity of the offence.

Code violations



Since there are different types of codes, with differing levels of public safety impact, the severity of consequences and punishment varies. Violating the noise control code inside an apartment may just annoy the neighbours. Building and fire code violations, however, can affect anyone inside and even surrounding a building.

Perpetrators include, but are not limited to the following:
  • General contractor
    General contractor
    A general contractor is responsible for the day-to-day oversight of a construction site, management of vendors and trades, and communication of information to involved parties throughout the course of a building project.-Description:...

     (through use of inadmissible shortcuts)
  • Subcontractor
    Subcontractor
    A subcontractor is an individual or in many cases a business that signs a contract to perform part or all of the obligations of another's contract....

     (through use of inadmissible shortcuts)
  • Architect
    Architect
    An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

     (through errors in plans (drawings)
    Plans (drawings)
    Plans are a set of drawings or two-dimensional diagrams used to describe a place or object, or to communicate building or fabrication instructions. Usually plans are drawn or printed on paper, but they can take the form of a digital file.- Overview :...

     and specifications
    Specification (technical standard)
    A specification is an explicit set of requirements to be satisfied by a material, product, or service. Should a material, product or service fail to meet one or more of the applicable specifications, it may be referred to as being out of specification;the abbreviation OOS may also be used...

  • Building owner (through alterations of building components or the occupancy
    Occupancy
    Occupancy in building construction and building codes is the use or intended use of a building or part thereof for the shelter or support of persons, animals or property. A closely related meaning is the number of units in such a building that are rented or leased, or otherwise in-use...

     without a building permit).
  • Occupants (sabotage or ignorance, for example, propping open a fire door
    Fire door
    A fire door is a door with a fire-resistance rating used as part of a passive fire protection system to reduce the spread of fire or smoke between compartments and to enable safe egress from a building or structure or ship...

     and running a carpet
    Carpet
    A carpet is a textile floor covering consisting of an upper layer of "pile" attached to a backing. The pile is generally either made from wool or a manmade fibre such as polypropylene,nylon or polyester and usually consists of twisted tufts which are often heat-treated to maintain their...

     through it.)
  • Authority Having Jurisdiction (through approval of a condition that violates the local code.)
  • Developers (through insisting on lowering costs by reducing safety measures, for instance accepting unspecified alternative products and systems)

Arguing disputes


For predictability, a legal code usually includes a body of prior decisions or precedent
Precedent
In common law legal systems, a precedent or authority is a principle or rule established in a legal case that a court or other judicial body may apply when deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts...

, which with the law itself constitutes what is called a jurisprudence
Jurisprudence
Jurisprudence is the theory and philosophy of law. Scholars of jurisprudence, or legal theorists , hope to obtain a deeper understanding of the nature of law, of legal reasoning, legal systems and of legal institutions...

. A jurist
Jurist
A jurist or jurisconsult is a professional who studies, develops, applies, or otherwise deals with the law. The term is widely used in American English, but in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth countries it has only historical and specialist usage...

 is an individual who makes judgements that are incorporated into the jurisprudence, either as cases or as laws themselves.

To speed cases along and ensure uniform representation, many legal codes require a defendant
Defendant
A defendant or defender is any party who is required to answer the complaint of a plaintiff or pursuer in a civil lawsuit before a court, or any party who has been formally charged or accused of violating a criminal statute...

 or plaintiff
Plaintiff
A plaintiff , also known as a claimant or complainant, is the term used in some jurisdictions for the party who initiates a lawsuit before a court...

 to be represented by an attorney at law
Lawyer
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

, whose responsibility is to take the client's case without prejudice, and to their best to minimize the penalties applied by law, including ideally the release of their client from any responsibility at all.

Computer code


Recently Lawrence Lessig
Lawrence Lessig
Lawrence "Larry" Lessig is an American academic and political activist. He is best known as a proponent of reduced legal restrictions on copyright, trademark, and radio frequency spectrum, particularly in technology applications, and he has called for state-based activism to promote substantive...

 has argued in his book Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace
Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace
Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace is a book by Lawrence Lessig. It has evolved into a partially wiki-written book Code v2 under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.- Main topic :...

that computer code may regulate conduct in much the same way that legal codes do.

See also

  • Code (law)
    Code (law)
    A code is a type of legislation that purports to exhaustively cover a complete system of laws or a particular area of law as it existed at the time the code was enacted, by a process of codification. Though the process and motivations for codification are similar in common law and civil law...

    • Civil code
      Civil code
      A civil code is a systematic collection of laws designed to comprehensively deal with the core areas of private law. A jurisdiction that has a civil code generally also has a code of civil procedure...

  • Jurist
    Jurist
    A jurist or jurisconsult is a professional who studies, develops, applies, or otherwise deals with the law. The term is widely used in American English, but in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth countries it has only historical and specialist usage...

  • Lawyer
    Lawyer
    A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

  • Ethical code
    Ethical code
    An ethical code is adopted by an organization in an attempt to assist those in the organization called upon to make a decision understand the difference between 'right' and 'wrong' and to apply this understanding to their decision...

  • Moral code
  • Building code
    Building code
    A building code, or building control, is a set of rules that specify the minimum acceptable level of safety for constructed objects such as buildings and nonbuilding structures. The main purpose of building codes are to protect public health, safety and general welfare as they relate to the...

  • Fire code
  • Authority Having Jurisdiction

External links