Section 68 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 creates the offence of aggravated trespass turning the act into a crime from a mere civil tort.

But the line seems rather fuzzy. So which authorities lay out the precise threshold of this distinction?

  • What is unclear about the law?
    – Lag
    Jul 31, 2023 at 20:14
  • What does the law say? Jul 31, 2023 at 20:18
  • @MichaelHall Isn't that OP's question?
    – bdb484
    Jul 31, 2023 at 20:28
  • 1
    @bdb484, the OP alluded to a line between civil and criminal trespass, and by characterizing it as "fuzzy" and imprecise, implied enough knowledge of the actual wording of the law to cause me to believe they had read it, but didn't understand the practical application in terms of a distinction between the two. If one was completely unfamiliar they would be more likely to ask something like "what constitutes criminal trespass?" Jul 31, 2023 at 20:40
  • @Lag never mind, upon reviewing the statute it is actually fairly clear to me. I was once told by a cop that if by trespassing you roused a security response or call out etc then that by itself could be seen as a distraction that was caused by your trespass but upon rereading the statute that seems folly as it would seem to be necessary to establish the alleged offender’s intent to cause such disruption, as well as the problem of there not apparently being any distinct lawful activity that disruption would have been caused *to * Jul 31, 2023 at 21:44

1 Answer 1


Aggravation is the wrong paradigm

When a person can be prosecuted (rather than sued) for trespass is a statutory matter

For example, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 (‘PCSAC’):

An offence will be committed under the PCSCA, if a person over the age of 18:

resides or intends to reside on land in or with a vehicle (including a caravan) without consent; and

fails to leave and/or remove their property (or re-enters the land) as soon as reasonably practicable when asked to do so; and

has caused, or is likely to cause ‘significant’:

  • damage to land/property/the environment;

  • disruption to the use of land/supply of utilities; and/or

  • distress via ‘offensive conduct’, such as the use of threatening words or behaviour.

This is a new law with AFAIK, no case law yet.

There are other offences in other legislation which would include civil trespass such as unlawfully being on a school or military base but they are their own offences - they aren’t trespass, even if they might informally be so called.


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