CodeQL documentation

Missing enum case in switch

ID: java/missing-case-in-switch
Kind: problem
Security severity: 
Severity: warning
Precision: medium
   - reliability
   - readability
   - external/cwe/cwe-478
Query suites:
   - java-security-and-quality.qls

Click to see the query in the CodeQL repository

A switch statement that is based on a variable with an enum type should either have a default case or handle all possible constants of that enum type. Handling all but one or two enum constants is usually a coding mistake.


If there are only a handful of missing cases, add them to the end of the switch statement. If there are many cases that do not need to be handled individually, add a default case to handle them.

If there are some enum constants that should never occur in this particular part of the code, then program defensively by adding cases for those constants and explicitly throwing an exception (rather than just having no cases for those constants).


In the following example, the case for ‘YES’ is missing. Therefore, if answer is ‘YES’, an exception is thrown at run time. To fix this, a case for ‘YES’ should be added.

enum Answer { YES, NO, MAYBE }

class Optimist
	Answer interpret(Answer answer) {
		switch (answer) {
			case MAYBE:
				return Answer.YES;
			case NO:
				return Answer.MAYBE;
			// Missing case for 'YES'
		throw new RuntimeException("uncaught case: " + answer);


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