Criminal law

Identifies and makes it a criminal offence to behave in ways considered wrong and for which society feels there is a need for punishment.

Civil and Criminal Law (Key Stage 4 - Law) Civil and Criminal Law Quiz for GCSE students. 


Criminal law is the law which allows the government to identify and criminalise behaviour that is considered wrong and damaging to individuals or to society in general. Criminal law regulates the wrongs which are considered serious enough for society to have a need to punish the offender.

These wrongdoings and those suspected of committing such offences are dealt with by the Criminal Justice System. The criminal justice system will deal with investigating the criminal activity right through to to judgement and sentencing in the criminal courts.

Some types of offences are listed below.

Offences which involve physical harm or a risk of harm to other people:

E.g. Murder, rape, assault, dangerous driving, drug dealing etc:

Offences which involve harm or a risk of harm to oneself:

E.g. Under-age drinking, use of drugs, not wearing a seat belt etc:

Offences which involve damage or loss of goods to other people's property:

E.g. Fire, theft etc:

Offences which interfere with society:

E.g. Riot, profanity, bigamy,etc:

Offences which cause loss to governments:

E.g. Not paying tax, making false benefit claims etc:

Offences which effect the legal system:

E.g. Failure to tell the truth when required, not reporting an accident, obstructing the work of the police etc:

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