Where a person appears to have committed an offence, they may have a defence if their conduct was authorised by another piece of legislation. The Criminal Code states in the first paragraph of article 122-4:
This is clearer than article 372 of the old Code and gives express approval to the case law on the subject. The old article had referred to there being neither a serious or major crime when the conduct was authorised by the law, but made no reference to minor offences. The case law had accepted that the defence also applied to minor offences, an approach which has been followed by the new Code as it broadly states that no criminal liability will be incurred. The old Code referred to acts ordered by the law, but made no reference to the situation where the act was simply permitted by the law. Again, the case law had taken the view that this was also covered by the defence and this approach is adopted by the new Code, which refers both to the conduct being ordered and authorised by the law.