Bob hits Sally, this is common assault, a summary offence that must be proceeded on within the relevant period.

Charlotte on the other hand hits Tariq, and then upon seeing him again in the street some weeks later hits him again, neither time inflicting any injuries.

Two years pass, and Sally finds that she No longer has any recourse against Bob. Is Tariq’s position the same as Sally’s?

  • Why might the statute of limitations be different? Dec 27, 2023 at 4:17
  • @Jen you’re welcome to edit the question if you like, but I personally see no ambiguity; the sequence of the events being recounted should be taken as that in which they occurred. The two years thus pass after both the second and first of Charlotte’s assaults against Tariq , which in turn I suppose both take place after Sally’s assault against Bob, in case that also matters. Dec 27, 2023 at 10:19
  • @MichaelHall because different offences have different periods. Dec 27, 2023 at 10:19
  • In retrospect I was thing that there may be some kind of parallel provision like how multiple incidents of unwanted contact can constitute harassment, though that is also summary only and I haven’t been able to find anything about multiple incidents of assault. Dec 27, 2023 at 10:22

2 Answers 2


Assault can be charged as an indictable offence not subject to a limitation period. This is true whether there was a single instance or multiple instances of assault.

A prosecution of assault, charged as an indictable offence, would be equally available against Bob and Charlotte no matter the time that has passed.

You ask:

Is Tariq’s position the same as Sally’s?

Yes, they could each be a complainant in relation to a criminal charge of assault.


There is no statute of limitations on indictable offences or offences where the prosecution has the choice of pursuing it by indictment

There is a six month limitation on offences that must be dealt with summarily. s6 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 sets out what makes an offence summary only but, long story short, common assault isn’t one of them.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .