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
1700 Cricket was recognised as early as this
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
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
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.