Principle Of Legality
LexInter | October 19, 2012 | 0 Comments

Principle Of Legality


Considering that article 8 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen provides that “the law must only establish penalties which are strictly and obviously necessary, and no one can be punished except by virtue of an established law and promulgated prior to the offense, and legally enforced “;

35. Considering that it follows from these provisions, as from the fundamental principles recognized by the laws of the Republic, that a penalty can be imposed only on the condition that the principle of legality of the offenses and the penalties are respected, the principle of the necessity of penalties, the principle of non-retroactivity of the criminal law of more severe incrimination as well as the principle of respect for the rights of the defense;

36. Considering that these requirements do not only concern the penalties pronounced by the criminal courts but extend to any sanction having the character of a punishment even if the legislator has left the task of pronouncing it to an authority of a non-judicial nature;

37. Considering, however, that applied outside criminal law, the requirement of a definition of the punishable offenses is satisfied, in administrative matters, by reference to the obligations to which the holder of an administrative authorization is subject by virtue of the laws and regulations ;  Cons.const. January 17, 1989


The principle of legality of offenses and penalties provides that one can only be criminally convicted by virtue of a precise and clear penal text

Its origin is the Latin adage, Nullum crimen, nulla pœna sine lege .

The principle of legality of offenses and penalties which results from Article 8 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789. It entails the obligation for the legislator ” to fix the field of application himself of the criminal law and to define the crimes and misdemeanors in sufficiently clear and precise terms “

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