Criminal law

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.

Standard Notes

27.11.2014Criminal Justice and Courts Bill - Lords Amendments
This paper is designed to provide background information for Consideration of Lords Amendments of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, which is due to take place on 1 December 2014
17.11.2014The European Arrest Warrant
This note considers the European Arrest Warrant, including an overview of the benefits it brings and the criticisms it gives rise to. Parliament is currently considering whether the UK should remain within the European Arrest Warrant framework, or whether it should opt out of this in favour of some other form of extradition arrangements with EU Member States.
10.11.2014The UK block opt-out in police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters: recent developments
The UK Government would like to opt back into 35 measures in the area of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters adopted before the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, but will the other EU Member States agree unanimously on this? Will the Government manage to get approval for the draft regulations published on 6 November which complete the transposition of 11 of the 35 opt-back-ins?
28.10.2014Modern Slavery Bill: Progress of the Bill
This is a note on the House of Commons Committee Stage of the Modern Slavery Bill. It complements Library Research Paper 14/37 prepared for the Commons Second Reading.
01.08.2014The Law Officers
Information about the role of the Law Officers in England and Wales (the Attorney General and Solicitor General).

Research Papers

18.12.2014Serious Crime Bill
This Bill would make changes aimed to strengthen the law on the recovery of the proceeds of crime. It would make amendments to the Computer Misuse Act 1990 to update existing offences. It would also provide for a new offence of participating in the activities of an organised crime group and make changes to Serious Crime Prevention Orders and gang injunctions. The Bill would provide for the seizure and forfeiture of substances used as drug-cutting agents. It would also amend the offence of child cruelty, create a new offence relating to the possession of 'paedophile manuals' and amend the law on Female Genital Mutilation. The Bill would create a new offence of unauthorised possession of a knife or other offensive weapon in prison and confer extra-territorial jurisdiction on the courts in respect of certain terrorism offences.
20.02.2014Criminal Justice and Courts Bill
The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill would make a number of changes to the criminal justice system including sentencing; cautions; prisoners' release and recall; and the detention of young offenders. It would also reform court proceedings and costs; establish a new system of strict liability in contempt proceedings; create new offences for juror misconduct; make changes to the conduct and funding of judicial review claims; and amend the law on extreme pornography.
04.06.2013Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill
This Bill, which is wide-ranging, will receive its second reading in the House of Commons on 10 June 2013. Amongst other changes, it would reform the 'tool kit' of remedies for anti-social behaviour; amend the law on dangerous dogs; introduce new firearms offences; criminalise forced marriage; give powers to the new College of Policing; implement some of the Winsor report's recommendations on police remuneration; provide new powers for the Independent Police Complaints Commission; and make changes to compensation for miscarriage of justice.
03.12.2012Police (Complaints and Conduct) Bill
This Bill is due to go through all its Commons stages under the Fast-Track procedure on 5 December 2012. It would make two changes to the powers of the Independent Police Complaints Commission. These are designed to enable the Commission to investigate allegations against the police in relation to the Hillsborough disaster. The Bill has reportedly been welcomed by the Opposition. It extends to England and Wales, and parts of it extend to the whole UK.
20.10.2011Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill Committee Stage Report

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 ...

Lords Library Notes

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
02.02.2007Serious Crime Bill (HL Bill 27, 2006-07). LLN 2007/001
Serious Crime Bill. House of Lords Library Note 2007/001


  • Research Papers (RP) - briefings produced by the House of Commons Library on Bills, topical issues and regular statistics
  • Standard Notes (SN) - shorter, topical briefings from the Commons Library
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POST Notes - short briefing notes produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - papers compiled by the House of Lords Library on Bills and for debates in the Lords
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses