The Witches Code is a set of rules that every witch must adhere to at all occasions. The rules themselves appear to have magical properties, for instance: Agatha Cackle and her cohorts are unable to cast spells after swearing an oath not to do so. (Double, Double, Toil and Trouble)
1998 TV Series and The New Worst Witch
When refering to a section in the Witches Code, the words "Rule" and "Page" are interchangable as Mildred and Miss Hardbroom refered to the same paragraph, each using a different word. We can gather from this that each rule takes up exactly one page of the handbook. (Double, Double, Toil and Trouble), (The Witchy Hour). The Witches Code handbook is a required textbook at Cackle's Academy.
Here is a list of known rules:
- Rule 1, Paragraph 3: "Magic should not be used for selfish or trivial purposes" (Deadly Doubles)
- Rule 7, Paragraph 3: Regards a witch being allowed to defend herself if physically pushed. (The Witchy Hour)
- Rule 8: "There is no rule number 8. It is simply there to remind us that there is a rule for everything, even if we do not know what it is." (The Witchy Hour)
- Rule 19, Paragraph 8: "No retaliation after retransfrogification. A witch who has been changed into an animal for the purposes of self defense, on being changed back, must admit defeat." (Double, Double, Toil and Trouble), (The Witchy Hour)
- According to the "Statute of Limitations" in the "Ancient Laws & Statutes": "On the day after a full moon, in the month of July, the laws against retaliation do not apply." This only applies to castles or hillforts. (A Bolt from the Blue)
Within the witches code, there is also at least three clauses referring to when ignoring rules is appropriate:
- Clause 3, Paragraph 57: "Magic can be used for educational purposes when authorized by a superior." (Deadly Doubles)
Here is a list of known rules, whose numbers weren't identified:
- "Never forget to keep your broomstick dry." (The Witchy Hour)
- "Never mix left-over potions" (The Witchy Hour)
2017 TV Series
The Witches' Code was created by Miranda Toadturn. Before the code was invented, witches could cast any spell they liked, but this caused chaos. There were so many spells being cast, and the air became so packed with magic, that the pressure reached a point where everything just stopped, almost like a magical short circuit. The entire witching world lost their powers, but Miranda worked out what had happened and told everyone to ration their spell-casting.
The first two rules of The Witches' Code were:
- No spells for personal gain
- No spells that hurt other witches
Those first two rules were added to, eventually growing into the large tome of rules that make up the code today.
In the 2017 series, most of the rules of the Witches' Code are not identified on a numerical basis, but key details have been established, such as rules prohibiting interfering with a duel between witches or about using magic on other witches. A key aspect of the Code in this series is that, in magical families with multiple children, the eldest child is the only one who inherits from their parents, with much of Ethel Hallow's anger in this series being motivated by the knowledge that her elder sister, Esmeralda, receives more attention from their parents than Ethel herself.
In the course of the series, Mildred becomes the first person- before even Miss Cackle herself- to learn that Ada Cackle is actually the younger of the Cackle siblings, but their mother concealed the truth as she recognized that Agatha would be a poor choice of headmistress. This deception is exposed to Agatha by Ethel in the penultimate episode of the series, but in "The Worst Headmistress", the Great Wizard learns of the secret and makes it clear that he himself will alter the Code to favour Ada in this instance, as he agrees with their mother's decision to bend the rules to allow Ada to take over the Academy.
Julie Hubble stated that 'You see, the way I read it, the Code is mainly about not deliberately harming others, using magic for personal gain or publicly exposing other witches.' She then questions Miss Hardbroom as to why she has a problem with Mildred, as Mildred has not actually broken any rules.
Witches who break the code must face the Magic Council. The Great Wizard, who is head of the council, can re-write the Witches' code.
Known rules include:
- Section 7 of the Witches' Code is a magical duel between witches. The loser will forfeit their powers. No witch may interfere in a Section 7 duel.
- Section 97, clause 4 is 'Never remove any part of another witch's anatomy, be it arm, leg, or hair of head.'
- It is unknown whether wizards follow the Witches Code or if they have their own code.