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Simplification of Criminal Law: Public Nuisance and Outraging Public Decency

Consultation Paper 193

Law Commission
TSO (The Stationery Office)

In 'Simplification of Criminal Law: Public Nuisance and Outraging Public Decency (Consultation Paper 193)' the Law Commission asks whether the common law offences of public nuisance and outraging public decency are in need of reform.

Recent case law has tightened up the application of these historically broad and unclear areas but the Law Commission is suggesting that clarity is still required around individuals' intention to cause harm. It is currently possible for someone to be guilty of causing public nuisance or outraging public decency without intending or even being reckless as to the effect of their actions on others; and the maximum penalty is life imprisonment.

In line with its aim to ensure that the law is fair, modern and accessible the Law Commission is seeking feedback on the suggestions that:

  • clearly defined fault elements should be introduced to the offences of public nuisance and outraging public decency;

  • the prosecution must prove that the accused intended that their actions would cause damage or outrage or were aware of the possibility and recklessly went ahead; and

  • the offences should be given proper statutory definitions.

This consultation falls under the Commission's project to simplify the criminal law. The project aims to clarify the structure and modernise the language of criminal law as well as make it more consistent and accessible to ordinary people.

Extent 91 pages ISBN 9780118404747
Size A4 Price £21.25
Format Paperback Published 31 Mar 2010
Availability Colour copy: 3 - 5 days Availability help (opens in new window) Delivery Delivery options and charges
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