Criminal Justice Act 1948

The Criminal Justice Act 1948 (11 & 12 Geo 6 c 58) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Criminal Justice Act 1948[1]
Long titleAn Act to abolish penal servitude, hard labour, prison divisions and sentence of whipping ; to amend the law-relating to the probation of offenders, and otherwise to reform existing methods and provide new methods of dealing with offenders and persons liable to imprisonment; to amend the law relating to the proceedings of criminal courts, including the law relating to evidence before such courts; to abolish privilege of peerage in criminal proceedings; to regulate the management of prisons and other institutions and the treatment of offenders and other persons committed to custody; to re-enact certain enactments relating to the matters aforesaid; and for purposes connected therewith.
Citation11 & 12 Geo 6 c 58
Introduced byAttlee ministry
Territorial extentEngland and Wales[2]
Royal assent30 July 1948
Status: Amended
Text of statute as originally enacted


The millennia-old sentence of whipping was abolished in most of the UK

It is "one of the most important measures relating to the reform of the criminal law and its administration".[3]

It abolished:

Other substantive provisions still in force are:

  • s. 27, as amended by (in particular) the Children and Young Persons Act 1969, which provides for remand of defendants between 18 and 20 years old to remand centres, and s. 49, which regulates them;
  • s. 31(1), which gives English courts extraterritorial jurisdiction in respect of Crown servants committing indictable offences abroad while in the course of their duties;
  • s. 37, relating to bail on appeal;
  • s. 41, which makes certain kinds of evidence admissible via a signed certificate instead of oral submissions;
  • s 42, on a procedural rule in cases on indictment;
  • s. 66, partly defining "custody";
  • s. 70(2), authorizing pensions to be paid notwithstanding disqualification from office under section 2 of the Forfeiture Act 1870 due to conviction for a crime.

Scottish and Northern Irish analoguesEdit

Some of its content is mirrored in the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1949 and the Criminal Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 1953.

Partial repealEdit

The act was partially repealed in 1977; it was modernised and recast in Acts including the Criminal Law Acts 1977 and 1997.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The citation of this Act by this short title is authorised by section 83(1) of this Act
  2. ^ This is the effect of sections 81 and 82 and the presumption that an Act extends to the United Kingdom unless the contrary is specified. Some of the provisions formerly extended to those countries.
  3. ^ Halsbury's Statutes, volume 12(1)
  4. ^ s. 30 Criminal Justice Act 1948

External linksEdit