Criminal Offences

4.32.3.L3 Updated on:5 November 2021

Common Law

Customary or common law originates from customs that were shaped and interpreted by rulings in the courts. These rulings established precedents that had to be followed by the courts hearing subsequent cases unless the precedents themselves were overturned by a more senior court.

The practice whereby decisions were recorded and considered binding in later cases forms the basis of the system of case law that forms an important part of our current legal system.

In many cases, common law is heavily relied upon and forms the backbone of criminal offences. Statute laws have been passed to supplement the common law. It is now accepted that the courts cannot introduce new common law offences. Examples of common law offences include –

  • Assault
  • Drunk and Disorderly
  • Breach of the Peace
  • Larceny
  • Malicious damage
  • Begging

Charites are allowed to hold street collections if they have a permit from the Bailiff.

Civil judgements

Civil judgements are the result of civil actions brought by private individuals or companies, e.g. debt, compensation, libel etc. These judgements do not appear on the Police National Computer, do not constitute a criminal offence and will not appear as part of a person’s criminal record.

Parish Hall Enquiries

Written or verbal Parish Hall Enquiry cautions and fines are not criminal convictions so do not appear on criminal records.

Any penalty imposed at a Parish Hall enquiry is known as a sanction and will on a person’s police record only. 

Public Order Offences

In Jersey, public order offences are usually dealt with by using Common Law powers, especially the offences of being –

  • Drunk and Disorderly
  • Committing a Public Nuisance
  • Causing a Breach of the Peace
  • Acting in a manner likely to cause a Breach of the Peace.

Public order offences also exist within Statute Law –

  • Interfering with any Post Office letterbox
  • Interfering with any telephone box
  • Improper use of roads, parks and beaches
  • Anyone sending a message by phone of a, offensive, indecent or threatening nature.
  • Anyone who uses a telephone to send a false message to cause bother, upset or needless worry.