Criminal Law Code

Criminal Law Codification Project

The aim of the criminal law codification project is to codify all substantive criminal law into one easily accessible volume. This is a major project; it is expected to take five to ten years to complete. The purpose is to make the criminal law more accessible and more easily understood.


First Steps

In the first phase, an expert group was asked to examine how codification might be achieved. The group’s report, Codifying the Criminal Law (PDF – 631KB), set out the overall structure and style of a criminal code. The report recommended a phased approach, involving restatement, consolidation and reform of the law.


Next Steps

The Tánaiste announced 1 February, 2007 as the start date for the second phase, which is the start of the work to implement the expert group’s recommendations. All the elements necessary for this work are now in place:

  • Legislation was enacted to establish a steering committee to oversee the process of codification. The relevant provisions are contained in Section 164 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 (PDF – 1.7MB).
  • The steering committee, which is chaired by Professor Finbarr McAuley, the leading academic criminal lawyer in the country, was established.
  • A research support unit dedicated to codification of the criminal law and funded by this Department has been set up within the Law School in UCD.
  • A permanent secretariat, comprising up to six people seconded from the Department, will assist the committee in its work and participate in the research.


 For more information, please see