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The Millenium Law

The game of Cricket has been governed by a series of Codes of Law for over 250 years. These Codes have been subject to additions and alterations recommended by the governing authorities of the time. Since its formation in 1787, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has been recognised as the sole authority for drawing up the Code and for all subsequent amendments. The Club also holds the World copyright.

The basic Laws of Cricket have stood remarkably well the test of well over 250 years of playing the game. It is thought the real reason for this is that cricketers have traditionally been prepared to play in the Spirit of the Game as well as in accordance with the Laws.

Now in 2000, MCC has revised and re-written the Laws for the new Millennium. In this Code, the major innovation is the introduction of the Spirit of Cricket as a Preamble to the Laws.

Whereas in the past it was assumed that the implicit Spirit of the Game was understood and accepted by all those involved, now MCC feels it right to put into words some clear guidelines, which will help to maintain the unique character and enjoyment of the game.

The other aims have been to dispense with the Notes, to incorporate all the points into the Laws and to remove, where possible, any ambiguities, so that captains, players and umpires can continue to enjoy the game at whatever level they may be playing.

MCC has consulted widely with all the Full Member Countries of the International Cricket Council, the Governing Body of the game. There has been close consultation with the Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers. The Club has also brought in umpires and players from all round the world.

Significant dates in the history of the Laws are as follows:

1700 Cricket was recognised as early as this date.
1744 The earliest known Code was drawn up by certain "Noblemen and Gentlemen" who used the Artillery Ground in London.
1755 The Laws were revised by "Several Cricket Clubs, particularly the Star and Garter in Pall Mall".
1774 A further revision was produced by "a Committee of Noblemen and Gentlemen of Kent, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Middlesex and London at the Star and Garter".
1786 A further revision was undertaken by a similar body of Noblemen and Gentlemen of Kent, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Middlesex and London.
1788 The first MCC Code of Laws was adopted on 30th May.
1835 A new Code of Laws was approved by the MCC Committee on 19th May.
1884 After consultation with cricket clubs worldwide, important alterations were incorporated in a new version approved at an MCC Special General Meeting on 21st April.
1947 A new Code of Laws was approved at an MCC Special General Meeting on 7th May. The main changes were aimed at achieving clarification and better arrangement of the Laws and their interpretations. This did not, however, exclude certain definite alterations which were designed to provide greater latitude in the conduct of the game as required by the widely differing conditions in which Cricket was played.
1979 After five editions of the 1947 Code, a further revision was begun in 1974 with the aim being to remove certain anomalies, consolidate various.