Drafting a Code of Conduct

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



This chapter describes the strategies for drafting an effective code of conduct. Specifically discussed are the five drafting principles. Eliminating the liability and grading language from the provision leaves a fairly readable and understandable rule. Many offences in current codes prohibit conduct identical to that prohibited by other offences; the offences are defined separately only for grading purposes. The use of simple and plain language can enhance a code's communicative potential. A code of conduct inspires greater compliance if, in the public's view, it describes conduct that the public sees as wrongful. In other words, the code's credibility as an accurate statement of what is wrongful conduct enhances its effectiveness; its lack of credibility can undercut compliance.


code of conduct, drafting principles, grading language, offences

Publication Title

Structure and Function in Criminal Law