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nullum crimen sine lege

[Latin: no crime without a law]
The principle that conduct does not constitute crime unless it has previously been declared to be so by the law; it is sometimes known as the principle of legality. Some serious offences are well-defined common-law offences (although the details relating to their definition may often be unclear until ruled upon by the judges); many regulatory offences (e.g. those involving road traffic and the manufacture of products) are constantly being created by statute. The principle is violated by the power occasionally attributed to judges to create new offences in order to punish morally harmful conduct (such as *conspiracy to outrage public decency).

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