• Research Briefing

    This note sets out the current law in England and Wales on the retention of fingerprints and DNA data by the police under the regime introduced by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. It also outlines the background to the changes made by the Act.

  • Research Briefing

    Murder carries a mandatory life sentence. This can mean that the offender will spend the rest of his natural life in prison, although more commonly the offender will spend a "minimum term" in custody before being released on licence. This briefing from the Commons Library describes the legal framework within which minimum terms are set and the circumstances in which a "whole life" minimum term may be imposed.

  • Research Briefing

    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.

  • Research Briefing

    The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill 2013-14 had its second reading on 24 February 2014 and was carried over to 2014-15 session. Library Research Paper 14/8 The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill provides background on the proposals in the Bill. There are four parts covering criminal justice, including offences relating to extreme pornographic images and release and recall of prisoners, young offenders, secure colleges and youth cautions, changes to courts and tribunals, including strict liability and jury misconduct, and judicial review changes, which attracted much written and oral evidence.

  • Research Briefing

    The current criminal offence of child neglect is set out in section 1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933. The charity Action for Children has launched a campaign calling for reform of the law, arguing that the legislation needs to "catch up" with modern society's understanding of neglect. Initially the Government said it had no plans to change the law in this area as the courts and children's services already interpret the 1933 Act "in a contemporary way". However, it now plans to legislate (via the Serious Crime Bill announced in the 2014 Queen's Speech) to make clear that the offence covers serious emotional neglect and psychological harm.

  • Research Briefing

    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.