code of practice


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code of practice

a set of guidelines used to encourage desirable patterns of behaviour but which generally lack any formal sanctions to punish inappropriate behaviour. Often codes of practice are developed as an alternative to legal regulation. For instance, companies engaged in food production might develop a code of practice between them to define hygiene standards, possibly to forestall government action in this area. Critics of this voluntaristic approach to regulation argue that they provide insufficient deterrents to wrong-doing. However, codes of practice are sometimes developed by official agencies and whilst not legally binding they are taken into account by courts in any legal action in the area covered by the code. For instance, employer adherence to the guidelines in the ADVISORY, CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION SERVICE'S code of practice on DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES is often an issue in UNFAIR DISMISSAL cases. Where the employer fails to follow the code the tribunal may award against the employer.