Penal law

Penal law

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Encyclopedia
In the most general sense, penal is the body of laws that are enforced by the State in its own name and impose penalties for their violation, as opposed to civil law
Civil law (common law)
Civil law, as opposed to criminal law, is the branch of law dealing with disputes between individuals or organizations, in which compensation may be awarded to the victim...

 that seeks to redress private wrongs. This usage is synonymous with criminal law
Criminal law
Criminal law, is the body of law that relates to crime. It might be defined as the body of rules that defines conduct that is not allowed because it is held to threaten, harm or endanger the safety and welfare of people, and that sets out the punishment to be imposed on people who do not obey...

 and is covered in that article.

In some jurisdictions, such as Canada
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...

, penal law is distinct from criminal law even if it encompasses this last field. This is a result of federalism
Federalism
Federalism is a political concept in which a group of members are bound together by covenant with a governing representative head. The term "federalism" is also used to describe a system of the government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and...

: only the federal Parliament
Parliament
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

 has the legislative power to enact criminal law statutes, yet provinces can also attach penal dispositions to their non-criminal statutes so they will be respected.

More specifically, the Penal laws were a set of
laws which punished nonconformism
Nonconformism
Nonconformity is the refusal to "conform" to, or follow, the governance and usages of the Church of England by the Protestant Christians of England and Wales.- Origins and use:...

 in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

.

English statutes on religious nonconformity


In English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 history, penal law refers to a specific series of laws that sought to uphold the establishment of the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 against Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 nonconformists
Nonconformism
Nonconformity is the refusal to "conform" to, or follow, the governance and usages of the Church of England by the Protestant Christians of England and Wales.- Origins and use:...

 and Roman Catholics
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

, by imposing various forfeitures, civil penalties, and civil disabilities upon these dissenters. Some examples of these laws are:
  • the law of praemunire
    Praemunire
    In English history, Praemunire or Praemunire facias was a law that prohibited the assertion or maintenance of papal jurisdiction, imperial or foreign, or some other alien jurisdiction or claim of supremacy in England, against the supremacy of the Monarch...

    , 14th century
  • Corporation Act 1661
    Corporation Act 1661
    The Corporation Act of 1661 is an Act of the Parliament of England . It belongs to the general category of test acts, designed for the express purpose of restricting public offices in England to members of the Church of England....

  • Act of Uniformity 1662
    Act of Uniformity 1662
    The Act of Uniformity was an Act of the Parliament of England, 13&14 Ch.2 c. 4 ,The '16 Charles II c. 2' nomenclature is reference to the statute book of the numbered year of the reign of the named King in the stated chapter...

  • Conventicle Act 1664
    Conventicle Act 1664
    The Conventicle Act of 1664 was an Act of the Parliament of England that forbade conventicles...

  • Five Mile Act 1665
    Five Mile Act 1665
    The Five Mile Act, or Oxford Act, or Nonconformists Act 1665, is an Act of the Parliament of England , passed in 1665 with the long title "An Act for restraining Non-Conformists from inhabiting in Corporations". It was one of the English penal laws that sought to enforce conformity to the...

  • the series of Test Act
    Test Act
    The Test Acts were a series of English penal laws that served as a religious test for public office and imposed various civil disabilities on Roman Catholics and Nonconformists...

    s
  • Education Act 1695
    Education Act 1695
    The Education Act 1695 , was an Act of the Parliament of Ireland, one of a series of penal laws, prohibiting Catholics from sending their children to be educated abroad. Its long title is "An Act to restrain Foreign Education"....

  • Disarming Act
    Disarming Act
    After the Jacobite Rising of 1715 ended it was evident that the most effective supporters of the Jacobites were Scottish clans in the Scottish Highlands and the Disarming Act attempted to remove this threat....

     1695
  • Marriage Act
    Marriage Act
    -Australia:-Canada:-New ZealandSouth Africa:-Australia::The Marriage Act 1961, Australia's law that governs legal marriage.-Canada::The Civil Marriage Act passed in Canada explicitly permitting same-sex marriages.-New Zealand:...

     1697
  • Banishment Act
    Banishment Act
    The Banishment Act was an Act of the Parliament of Ireland , one of a series of penal laws passed in 1697 that banished all bishops of the Roman Catholic Church from Ireland to protect the official state church, the Church of Ireland...

     1697
  • Registration Act
    Registration Act
    The Registration Act was an Act of Parliament of the Parliament of Ireland passed in 1704, one of a series of Penal laws. Its long title is An Act for registering the Popish Clergy and its citation is 2 Ann c.7...

     1704
  • Popery Act
    Popery Act
    An Act to prevent the further Growth of Poperty was an Act of Parliament of the Parliament of Ireland passed in 1703 and amended in 1709, one of a series of penal laws against Roman Catholics....

     1704 and 1709
  • Occasional Conformity Act 1711
  • Disenfranchising Act
    Disenfranchising Act
    The Disenfranchising Act was an Act of Parliament of the Parliament of Ireland passed in 1727, one of a series of penal laws, prohibiting all Roman Catholics from voting...

     1728

Clarendon Code


While some of the Penal Laws were much older, they took their most drastic shape during the reign of Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

. Four of them became known as the Clarendon Code, after Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon
Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon
Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon was an English historian and statesman, and grandfather of two English monarchs, Mary II and Queen Anne.-Early life:...

, though he was not their author and did not fully approve of them. These included:
  • Corporation Act (1661) - This first of the four statutes which made up the Clarendon Code required all municipal officials to take Anglican communion, and formally reject the Solemn League and Covenant
    Solemn League and Covenant
    The Solemn League and Covenant was an agreement between the Scottish Covenanters and the leaders of the English Parliamentarians. It was agreed to in 1643, during the First English Civil War....

     of 1643. The effect of this act was to exclude nonconformists from public office. This legislation was rescinded in 1828.

  • Act of Uniformity
    Act of Uniformity 1662
    The Act of Uniformity was an Act of the Parliament of England, 13&14 Ch.2 c. 4 ,The '16 Charles II c. 2' nomenclature is reference to the statute book of the numbered year of the reign of the named King in the stated chapter...

    , (1662) - This second statute made use of the Book of Common Prayer compulsory in religious service. Over two thousand clergy refused to comply and so were forced to resign their livings (the Great Ejection
    Great Ejection
    The Great Ejection followed the Act of Uniformity 1662 in England. Two thousand Puritan ministers left their positions as Church of England clergy, following the changes after the restoration to power of Charles II....

    ). The provisions of the act were modified by the Act of Uniformity Amendment Act, of 1872.

  • Conventicle Act
    Conventicle Act 1664
    The Conventicle Act of 1664 was an Act of the Parliament of England that forbade conventicles...

     (1664) - This act forbade conventicles (a meeting for unauthorized worship) of more than five people who were not members of the same household. The purpose was to prevent dissenting
    English Dissenters
    English Dissenters were Christians who separated from the Church of England in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.They originally agitated for a wide reaching Protestant Reformation of the Established Church, and triumphed briefly under Oliver Cromwell....

     religious groups from meeting.

  • Five Mile Act (1665) - This final act of the Clarendon Code was aimed at Nonconformist ministers, who were forbidden from coming within five miles of incorporated town
    Incorporated town
    -Canada:Incorporated towns are a form of local government in Canada, which is a responsibility of provincial rather than federal government.-United States:...

    s or the place of their former livings. They were also forbidden to teach in schools. Most of the Act's effects were repealed by 1689, but it was not formally abolished until 1812.


Combined with the Test Act
Test Act
The Test Acts were a series of English penal laws that served as a religious test for public office and imposed various civil disabilities on Roman Catholics and Nonconformists...

, the Corporation Acts excluded all nonconformists from holding civil or military office, and prevented them from being awarded degrees by the universities
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

 of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

 and Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

.

In Irish history


The Penal Laws were introduced into Ireland in the year 1695 (having been in use in other countries before this). They had a pronounced effect, disenfranchising the majority of the Irish population, who were Roman Catholic or Presbyterian and in favour of the minority established Church of Ireland
Church of Ireland
The Church of Ireland is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. The church operates in all parts of Ireland and is the second largest religious body on the island after the Roman Catholic Church...

. Though the laws also affected adherents of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland
Presbyterian Church in Ireland
The Presbyterian Church in Ireland , is the largest Presbyterian denomination in Ireland, and the largest Protestant denomination in Northern Ireland...

 (who were concentrated in Ulster
Ulster
Ulster is one of the four provinces of Ireland, located in the north of the island. In ancient Ireland, it was one of the fifths ruled by a "king of over-kings" . Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into a number of counties for administrative and judicial...

), their principal victims were members of the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

, meaning over three quarters of the people on the island. The British had punished the faith of the overwhelming majority of the "mere Irish" (in contemporary English, 'mere' meant 'pure' or 'fully').

The laws were eventually repealed largely due to Irish political agitation organised under Daniel O'Connell
Daniel O'Connell
Daniel O'Connell Daniel O'Connell Daniel O'Connell (6 August 1775 – 15 May 1847; often referred to as The Liberator, or The Emancipator, was an Irish political leader in the first half of the 19th century...

 in the 1820s, but effects of the laws in terms of sectarianism
Sectarianism
Sectarianism, according to one definition, is bigotry, discrimination or hatred arising from attaching importance to perceived differences between subdivisions within a group, such as between different denominations of a religion, class, regional or factions of a political movement.The ideological...

 between Catholics and Protestants can still be seen, particularly in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

, today.

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