Narrowing the scope of absurdly broad offences: The case of terrorist possession

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract / Description of output

Many statutory offences in English criminal law appear absurdly broad in their scope. This article examines the role that narrow construction might play in limiting the scope of such offences. As a case study, the article uses the offence of possessing information of a kind likely to be useful to a terrorist, under section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000; and the House of Lords’ interpretation of this offence in the 2009 case of R v G. It is argued that, within a purposive approach to statutory interpretation, narrow construction can provide a legally permissible means of narrowing the scope of absurd offences. However, this approach requires courts to address difficult moral questions about the convictions and punishments that they are authorising – questions which, ultimately, they may wish to avoid.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-297
JournalStatute Law Review
Issue number3
Early online date20 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Criminal law
  • Statutory interpretation
  • Terrorism offences
  • Possession offences


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