Let's say a person(18yo) exchanges nudes with a 17yo (not a crime where I live) who is living in Britain where it would be a crime. Could the UK arrest and prosecute the person?

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  • While related, the linked question is significantly different in my view -- it deals with what happens if both parties are over 18 by the time the incident is reported and with Turkish law. I do not think this should eb closed as a duplicate. Apr 26, 2019 at 21:55
  • Age of consent in the UK is 16. Why would exchanging nudes with a 17yo be a crime whereas having sex with them is not?
    – Greendrake
    Apr 26, 2019 at 23:32
  • @Greendrake According to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… "indecent" images of a person under 18 are illegal under the Protection of Children Act 1978 , even if the person could consent to sex. Whether a "nude" would be "indecent" apparently depends on a jury finding, and no doubt on specific details. I haven't double checked the actual text of the law, but i am reasonably sure this is accurate. Apr 27, 2019 at 4:54
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    In short, because Parliament says so. @Greendrake Apr 27, 2019 at 5:00

2 Answers 2


Assuming this comes to the attention of the authorities in the UK, they could file charges, and apply for your extradition to the UK. If you were to visit the UK, you could be arrested and tried.

If an application for extradition is filed, the country in which you are located will decide whether to comply with that request. If that country has an extradition treaty with the UK, the terms of that treaty will be important to that decisions. Such terms vary.

Political factors are often taken into account in decisions about extradition. Your country's relationship with the UK, good or bad, may affect any such decision.

Many countries will not extradite for charges that are not crimes under their own law, but that is not universal rule.

Extradition cases require significant prosecution resources. Countries often do not file extradition requests for what they consider minor or unimportant crimes, or ones they do not expect to win in court. But that is a matter of policy and judgement, not of law. If the relevant authorities are intent on pursuing a particular case, for whatever reason, they can do so.

  • "Many countries will not extradite for charges that are not crimes under their own law, but that is not universal rule" Quite notable exception is EU country to EU country. Like UK tourists taking photos of airplanes in Greece, or a US neo-nazi being extradited to Germany when he travelled to Denmark.
    – gnasher729
    Apr 27, 2019 at 6:35
  • Are you just accepting the premise that sending a nude photo to a minor is covered by the law, or do you have more analysis that supports that premise?
    – user6726
    Apr 27, 2019 at 16:39
  • @user6726 UK law is pretty clear that receiving an "indecent" photo of a person under 18 is against the law. (see my comment above on the Q) Whether a simply nude would be considered to be "indecent" is not so clear, and we here can't judge what the actual photo was like in any case. Thus in my answer I start from the position that it might be against the law as administered in the UK. Apr 27, 2019 at 16:48
  • I don't see the part which addressing receiving.
    – user6726
    Apr 27, 2019 at 17:02
  • @user6726 see my comments to greendrake under the question, and follow the Wikipedia links, or See Section 45 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 which changed the definition of ';child" in the Protection of Children Act 1978 to "anyone under 18". It is an offense under tht act to take or make, distribute, or posses an indecent photo of a child. Sending an indecent image to a child might be an offense under another act, i'm not sure. The law does not define 'indecent" leaving it to a case-by-case decision. Apr 27, 2019 at 17:17

Let's assume we are talking about anything that is legal where you live, and not legal in the UK. The UK doesn't care whether it is legal where you live. On the other hand, the UK (mostly) only cares about crimes happening in the UK.

But then, they might consider sending pictures say from the USA to the UK to be "happening in the UK", not "happening in the USA". That would be logical if you consider the crime to be committed only if the photos arrive in the UK on the person's phone.

So let's assume that according to UK law you committed a crime in the UK. The UK will prosecute you if (a) police finds out about it. (b) They think the matter is serious enough to prosecute you. (c) They can lay their hands on you, for example because you are in the UK.

They will look for where you are and ask for extradition if they think the matter is serious enough for the extra work. They may have enough work with more serious crimes, so this seems not likely. It is less likely if they think their request will not succeed.

Your home country will likely not extradite you if what you did was legal in your country. Some countries will not extradite if they think the extradition is worse than the likely punishment for the crime. The UK lawyers obviously know what the US lawyers will do, so if you were in the USA, the UK likely wouldn't try to get you extradited, knowing that it is 99% going to fail.

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