In the United Kingdom, where does a telecommunication crime take place?

Is it the location of the criminal or the victim?

For instance, if you hacked a computer in London, but you were based in Wales. Have you committed a crime in London or Wales?

Or if someone in Northern Ireland called another person in Yorkshire and verbally abused them over the telephone - where has the crime taken place?

1 Answer 1


This is a multiple choice question:

Does a crime take place in the location of:

a) the perpetrator(s)

b) the victim(s)

c) somewhere else

d) all of the above.

The correct answer is d) all of the above.

Jurisdiction in criminal matters is decided by the courts of each jurisdiction. Let me expand one of your examples:

A US citizen resident in Canada hacks a server located in the UK to access the information of an Australian citizen resident in France but traveling in Germany and uses it to cause harm to the Australian's Mexican corporation's business in South Africa. Any or all of the courts of the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, France, Germany, Mexico and South Africa could hear the case.

Some may decide that they do not have jurisdiction because their connection is tenuous (e.g. Germany). Some may defer their jurisdiction to another jurisdiction - effectively saying "we have jurisdiction but will not hear the case; bring us the judgement from jurisdiction X and we will enforce it", this is very common. For example, if drug smuggling takes place between two countries the perpetrator will generally only be prosecuted where they are caught, however, if they are acquitted in the first jurisdiction they may have to face prosecution in the second.

The point is; jurisdiction is complicated.

  • Is that true even within a country, if there are procedural rules about where trial must be held?
    – cpast
    Oct 22, 2015 at 4:36
  • @cpast Yes, it is a matter of sovereignty (or sub-state sovereignty) and depends on the particular arrangements between the jurisdictions. For example, there is agreement that the supreme court of each Australian state can hear cases under the law of another state and that decision will be binding. Depending on the subject matter of the case, the court where it is brought may either hear it or refer it to another state's courts.
    – Dale M
    Oct 22, 2015 at 4:53
  • I agree, all of the above is the likely scenario. In this case specifically neither the government of London (city), London (metropolitan area), or the government of Wales can overrule each other, so procedural rules specific to any one are only as good as how convincing they appear to superior courts.
    – M. Y. Zuo
    May 8, 2023 at 0:06

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