Answer to Question #201916 in Law for Nhlakanipho Mthimk

Question #201916

Briefly explain whether the following law meets the requirements of the principle of legality:

Parliament enacts a new law which provides that it is a crime if a person is not appropriately dressed in a public space

Expert's answer

In criminal law, the principle of legality means that only law can define a crime and prescribe a penalty. It also embodies, that the criminal law must not be widely interpreted to an accused detriment, for instance by analogy. According to that principle, an offence must be clearly defined in the law. This law does not meet the principle of legality in that it does not consider the freedom of expression which is one of the most important aspects to consider if a dress law were to be enforced. One must ask how much personal freedom would be taken away from members of society.

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