In England, it seems one can be charged with an indictable or either-way offence 70 years after the fact.

Is it not so that in most places this is not the case?

And what are the stated justifications for having no limitations period for these offences?

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    Thank you, I generally support your edit, but readded the aspect which still hinges on fact and not opinion. It may be overly broad but people have leeway to confine their answers to broad treatments of the common law world, or common law + Europe, etc etc., as their knowledge permits. And different answers may address different jurisdictions as usual. Jan 7, 2023 at 14:42
  • I'd put this the opposite way: why is there time limit on charging with non-indictable offences?
    – Greendrake
    Jan 7, 2023 at 20:55
  • That may or may not get at the same issue from a different angle. Jan 7, 2023 at 21:04
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    Does this answer your question? Why do statutes of limitations exist? Jan 7, 2023 at 22:12
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    The proposed duplicate asks why Statutes of limitations exist, and the various answers give the benefits that such laws are thought to have. This asks the opposite , why such a law does NOT exist in a particular case in a particular jurisdiction. The answers to the previous question do not seem to address this issue. I think this shouyld not be closed as a duplicate. Jan 8, 2023 at 19:10

1 Answer 1


You have your reasoning backwards

In most jurisdictions, most serious crimes are not subject to a statute of limitations or have periods so long that for all practical purposes they might as well be. However, less serious crimes usually do have limitation periods that are meaningful. Sometimes they are broken into two categories, as in the UK, sometimes several categories with different periods, as in Germany.

See Why do statutes of limitations exist? for reasons why limitations exist. I’m sure you can see why it might be appropriate to have different limits for crimes of different seriousness - littering is in a different category of heinous to murder.

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