The Code of Laws

The term Code in Russian signifies a single whole of data, materials, texts placed in a certain order [1]. In this sense the above-mentioned Code of laws implies a totality of laws accumulated in a single whole (as a rule in an edition) and placed in a certain order [2]. In other languages analogous editions are named as follows: corpus juris (Latin) code of laws, Sammlung (German), recueil (French) and even code (English), although the latter can imply a law, a code.

[1] [2] Ozhegov S.I., Shvedova N.Y. Explanatory dictionary of the Russian language. M: Azbukovnik, 1999. p. 704

 

Historic excursus in the process of the systematization of legislation

 

The Code of Laws of the Republic of Belarus being a complete systematic collection of legislative enactments is formed in accordance with the Edict of President of the Republic of Belarus of 19 January 1999 No 34 On the Forming and Edition of the Code of Laws of the Republic of Belarus. The decision on the preparing the Code of Laws has been taken in connection with a long felt need of systematization of the current legislation and its liberation from obsolete and contradictory acts. The main purpose of the Code of Laws is to put the legislation in good order determining the location of any normative legal act within a sharply defined system and to make the legislation visible, understandable and easy-to-use.

The acts included in the Code of Laws are classified into structural departments (categories, chapters, paragraphs, items) in compliance with the Structure of the Code of Laws developed on basis of the Uniform Legal Classifier of the Republic of Belarus approved by the Edict of President of the Republic of Belarus of January 4, 1999 No 1 and compiled under topical indicators. Within structural departments of the Code of laws the acts are inserted according to the system providing for a consequent development of the theme. The acts are placed in that very structural department to which they are relevant as regards their essential content. Such acts are inserted in their complete exposition. Together with the acts in their complete exposition the structural departments contain references to the above acts or to their structural elements (articles, items) which under their essential content are to be inserted in any other structural department. The references are applied in every case when the acts inserted in other structural department contain legal provisions which are directly related to the subject-matter of the given structural department and without the references to them the materials would not be complete.

In the Code of laws there are inserted the following types of acts: Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, laws of the Republic of Belarus, decrees and edicts of the President of the Republic of Belarus, acts of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Belarus, intergovernmental and inter-State treaties being in force for the Republic of Belarus, acts on expression of consent of the Republic of Belarus regarding its obligation in view of the above international treaties, and legal normative acts issued in order to implement the mentioned international treaties. In the Code of laws there are inserted: acts on amending and/or supplementing and on recognition of stale acts which had been earlier issued, as well as acts of individual-operative (not normative) character including the acts of operative-managing character, local acts and acts of one-time measures.

For the purpose of systematization of legal normative acts inserted in the Code of laws there has been carried out a comprehensive analysis of legislative acts in terms of their co-ordination, elimination of contradictions and gaps, an analysis of blanket and reference rules contained in codified and other legislative acts as well as the determining of the level of their implementation in the legislation, there have been developed proposals on the ordering of the legislation. The work on the forming of the Code of laws and its preparing to the edition has been carried out by the National Centre of Legislation and Legal Research of the Republic of Belarus (NCLLR). In conformity with the instructions of the President of the Republic of Belarus of 8 September 2003 there has been elaborated the electronic version of the Code of laws (EVCL) which undoubtedly is the most acceptable form for accumulating the information resources in view to supply the law enforcement. At present time in result of joint efforts of the National Centre of Legal Information of the Republic of Belarus (NCLI) and the NCLLR there has been developed the software of forming, conducting and use of EVCL in the form of two programs:

1) computer-aided system of the electronic version of the Code of laws (EVCL-editor) destined for creation, conducting and continuation of measures on systematization of legislation, actualization of the complete systematized electronic collection of laws of the Republic of Belarus, intergovernmental and inter-State treaties being in force for the Republic of Belarus;

2) information retrieval system Code of Laws of the Republic of Belarus (IRS EVCL) destined for any users who constantly has to do with legal normative acts, who needs a systematized information on legislative acts, intergovernmental and inter-State treaties being in force for the Republic of Belarus, acts on expression of consent of the Republic of Belarus regarding its obligation in view of the above international treaties. First of all these users are:

  1. chiefs of various levels;
  2. practicing lawyers;
  3. employees of institutions and organizations;
  4. students at educational law institutions;
  5. other categories of users.

 

As regards the quality, the IRS EVCL is not inferior to existing databases of law information. It reproduces the array of legal normative acts, gives possibilities for searching the documents at any search entry, for text output both to filing and to printing. At the same time there are certain features which distinguish the IRS EVCL from other databases of law information. The databases of law information existing at present time are to a greater extent only information retrieval system. In the Code of laws the acts are located not chaotically but in a strict order under topical indicators (categories, chapters, paragraphs, items) in compliance with the structure of the Code of laws and the system providing for a consequent development of the theme and permitting a quick and easy finding of a required act and a detailed survey of acts currently in force in their totality on any topic. In cases when the acts inserted in other sections contain legal provisions directly relevant to the subject-matter of the given structural department of the Code of laws the users can apply references to the acts or to their structural elements (articles, items). Besides, in the texts of acts there are marked the blanket rules the access to which is possible by means of hyperlinks permitting an efficient study of the acts adopted in view of development of these rules and giving a quite clear idea of the current legal regulation.

Beginning from 1 January 2008 the IRS EVC is in use.

It is significant that in the framework of functioning of EVCL there is implemented a close interaction between the employees of the NCLLR and the NCLI. Along the way there are revealed problems and shortcomings arising within the forming of the EVCL, there are elaborated further ways of co-operation to provide for the conducting of the electronic version of the Code of laws.

The Code of laws of the Republic of Belarus contains about 4400 acts of legislation, among them more than 1200 acts are related to national legislation and more than 3200 acts to the area of international relations.