Criminal law

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The page will automatically redirect to Criminal Law Research Briefings produced by the Commons Library, Lords Library and POST

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  • This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on criminal law. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

    Commons Briefing Papers

    21.10.2016Commons Library Analysis of the Criminal Finances Bill (Bill 75 of 2016-17)
    This Briefing Paper has been prepared for the second reading debate of the Criminal Finances Bill on 25 October 2016. The Bill aims to improve the Government's ability to target the revenue generated by organised crime.
    20.10.2016Commons Library analysis of the Sexual Offences (Pardons Etc.) Bill 2016-17
    The Sexual Offences (Pardons Etc.) Bill 2016-17 is a Private Member's Bill. It would pardon anyone convicted of certain historic gay sex offences. It would also extend the existing "disregard scheme" under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.
    08.09.2016Knives and offensive weapons
    This Commons Library briefing paper provides information on the two main categories of offence relating to knives and offensive weapons in England and Wales: offences relating to possession and offences relating to sale and supply. This briefing sets out the various offences and sentences which are contained in a number of pieces of legislation. It also describes police guidance on cautioning and charging and government policy on knife crime.
    26.08.2016Brexit: impact across policy areas
    This Commons Library briefing paper looks at the current situation in a range of policy areas and considers what impact Brexit might have. This will depend, among other things, on the Brexit negotiations, whether the UK stays in the European Economic Area and how the Government fills any policy gaps left by withdrawal.
    16.08.2016The age of criminal responsibility
    This Commons Library briefing discusses the debate around raising the age of criminal responsibility - the age below which a child is deemed not to have the capacity to commit a crime.
    09.06.2016Terrorism in Great Britain: the statistics
    A paper examining some of the key terrorism statistics in Great Britain since 9/11. Data considered includes arrests, stop and search, prosecutions and convictions TPIMs and foreign fighters.
    23.05.2016Review of unduly lenient sentences
    The Attorney General has the power to refer sentences for certain offences which he believes to be unduly lenient to the Court of Appeal. The Attorney General's power to refer only applies to serious offences, being those that can only be dealt with by the Crown Court and some other offences specified in an order.
    19.05.2016Counter-extremism policy: an overview
    Counter-extremism policy has evolved over the past few years with an increasing focus on addressing non-violent extremism. Recent policy announcements and a forthcoming Bill indicate that the Government remains determined to confront both violent and non-violent forms of extremism in its fight against terrorism.
    19.05.2016Stalking: criminal offences
    This Commons Library briefing paper gives an overview of two specific stalking offences introduced in England and Wales from November 2012. The offences were created by amendments to the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
    16.05.2016The Protection from Harassment Act 1997
    This Commons Library Briefing Paper gives a brief overview of the criminal and civil remedies available in the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

    Lords Library Notes

    27.05.2016Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill [HL]: Briefing for Lords Stages
    This House of Lords Library briefing provides information in support of the House of Lords' consideration of the Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill [HL].
    08.01.2016Identity Cards in the UK
    This Lords Library briefing provides background information ahead of the debate in the House of Lords scheduled for 14 January 2016 on the "potential use of identity documentation in dealing with the challenges of assuring the identity of individuals". It does this through a short chronology of the history of ID cards in the UK over the last century. It then provides more information about two key pieces of legislation: the Identity Cards Act 2006 and the Identity Documentation Act 2010.
    25.06.2014Criminal Justice and Courts Bill (HL Bill 30 of 2014-15)
    The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill contains a range of proposals across four areas: criminal justice; young offenders; courts and tribunals; and judicial review. This Library Note summarises the key debates that took place on the Bill at report stage and third reading in the House of Commons, highlighting amendments made to the Bill, and refers to some of the other issues raised by MPs.
    25.10.2013Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill (HL Bill 52 of 2013-14)
    Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill (HL Bill 52 of 2013-14)
    15.11.2011Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill (HL Bill 109 of 2010-12)
    This Library Note provides background information in advance of the second reading in the House of Lords of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill.
    15.03.2007Fraud (Trials without a Jury) Bill. LLN 2007/002


    16.12.2015Policing Domestic Abuse
    Domestic abuse refers to a range of behaviours - psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional - that are directed towards partners, ex-partners or family members. This POSTnote examines the prevalence and nature of domestic abuse and the policing response. It examines how the policing response could be informed by research about the effectiveness of current and alternative approaches, and the possible benefits for victims, their families and offenders.
    22.10.2015Unintentional Bias in Court
    When asked to interpret information and draw conclusions, people are prone to a number of well understood, unintentional errors in reasoning called cognitive biases. This POSTnote examines how cognitive biases affect reasoning and decision-making, and outlines strategies to minimise their influence in court.
    30.09.2015Forensic Language Analysis
    This note examines forensic language analysis, the scientific validity of procedures and their applications, and explores the issues surrounding their use.
    24.09.2015Trends in Crime and Criminal Justice
    This POSTnote describes crime patterns, and highlights issues with crime measurement and data. It also identifies key developments in the criminal justice system.
    09.03.2015The darknet and online anonymity
    A very small proportion of websites use sophisticated anonymity systems, which allow their operators to conceal their identity if they wish to. This part of the web is commonly referred to as the darknet. The darknet helps citizens to protect their security and privacy and to circumvent censorship. It also facilitate organised crime, such as the billion dollar drug market known as Silk Road. This POSTnote discusses the challenge of preventing such crimes without compromising the other uses of anonymity technologies.

    Select Committee Reports

    26.01.2010Appointment of HM CPS Chief Inspector.
    Justice Select Committee report [Commons]
    05.05.2009Procedural rights in EU criminal proceedings.
    European Union Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
    31.03.2009Legislative scrutiny: Policing and Crime Bill.
    Human Rights Joint Select Committee report [Commons and Lords]

    Early Day Motions

    That this House considers current UK law which provides sleepwalking as a defence for rape or murder to be grossly unreasonable following recent cases, including a not guilty verdict ...
    18.11.2009CRIMINAL LAW (S.I., 2009, NO. 2773)
    That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (Conditional Cautions: Financial Penalties) Order 2009 (S.I., 2009, No. 2773), dated 15 ...
    18.11.2009CRIMINAL LAW (S.I., 2009, No. 2720)
    That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Costs in Criminal Cases (General) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 (S.I., 2009, No. 2720), dated 8 October 2009, a copy ...
    15.10.2009CRIMINAL LAW (S.I., 2009, No. 2720)
    That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Costs in Criminal Cases (General) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 (S.I., 2009, No. 2720), dated 8 October 2009, a copy ...
    20.07.2009MAGISTRATES' COURTS (S.I., 2009, No. 1496)
    That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Magistrates' Courts Fees (Amendment) Order 2009, (S.I., 2009, No. 1496), dated 10 June 2009, a copy of which was ...


    • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
    • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
    • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
    • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
    • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses