The Lord Chief Justice and codification of the criminal law

In his speech on 6 July at the annual Mansion House dinner for judges, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, revived Lord Bingham’s call for the criminal law to be codified in a single document. He noted that there were now fewer criminal law specialists than previously and that the law was currently contained in a “maze of innumerable, to some … impenetrable, statutes and common law developments over the centuries, which it is difficult to defend as entirely rational” and suggested that the criminal law was “long overdue for clarification and simplification”. He went on: “We ought to be able to look to a single document that sets out the nature of criminal conduct, in other words, a modern code” and commended it as a suitable project for the Law Commission’s next reform programme.

The relationship between Lord Thomas’s proposal and “law & religion” may seem slightly tenuous; but, Continue reading