S3 criminal law act 1967 makes reference to circumstances in which someone is “unlawfully at large.” What specifically does this mean?

1 Answer 1


"Unlawfully at large" simply means that a person who should be in jail is not.

The Criminal Justice Act 1948 formerly contained a definition, but this section has been repealed.

  1. Persons unlawfully at large. (1) Any person who, having been sentenced to imprisonment, corrective training, preventive detention or Borstal training, or ordered to be detained in a detention centre, or having been committed to a prison or remand centre, is unlawfully at large...

I could not find the current definition, but it is almost certainly similar. (Does the UK have some kind of a legal code, rather than just individual acts of Parliament, many of which have been amended repeatedly?)

  • There is the later Criminal Justice Act 1982 which abolished the borstal system in the UK, replacing borstals with youth custody centres. Perhaps the latest version in Criminal Justice Act 2003. Commented Dec 17, 2023 at 18:48
  • It might apply to someone who was released on parole, but is not reporting. Commented Dec 17, 2023 at 18:54
  • The text was replaced in the Act that repealed the CJA 1948, namely s49 of the Prison Act 1952. Commented Dec 18, 2023 at 9:24
  • @SteveMelnikoff that may be so but it seems to define the term for its own purposes of creating a separate and independent power. Not for the purposes of s3cla67 which was the subject of the question. Commented Dec 23, 2023 at 11:17
  • @TylerDurden Broadly speaking, if a term is used in an Act but not defined there, I'd expect us to use the common law definition (if there is one), or see if it's defined in an earlier Act. In this case, the term is defined in the Prison Act 1952, so unless there's another definition elsewhere, then I'd assume this is the one to go with. Commented Dec 23, 2023 at 15:47

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