Photo by Seán J Crossan
Don’t worry: I renewed my TV licence before the deadline.
Failure to obtain a TV licence (unless you benefit from an exemption) is a criminal offence and could be punishable by a fine of up to £1,000.
Currently, the Communications Act 2003 and the Communications (TV Licensing) Regulations 2004 contains the relevant law.
So, it was with some interest that I read that the UK Government intends to review the law and decriminalisation may be an option. This of course, would mean that it would no longer be a criminal offence for failure to obtain a TV licence.
A link to the story on the Sky News website can be found below:
When beginning my introductory lectures about law and legal obligations, I often remark to my students that legal principles or rules (especially in relation to criminal law) are a reflection of society’s values.
Well, guess what? Society can move on or evolve. The law is a living, breathing entity. There is nothing fixed about it.
This week, a new UK Parliament will convene at Westminster following last Thursday‘s General Election. It is a widely accepted constitutional principle that no Parliament can bind its successors. The Prime Minister has already signalled his intention to take a very different path from the Parliament that sat between June 2017 and December 2019.
When discussing the possible decriminalisation with regard to non-payment of the TV licence fee, one of my students asked what would happen to those individuals who had previously been convicted of this offence?
Too bad; tough, I responded. That is the law and if you break it, you pay the penalty. So, a final word of warning: don’t be tempted to flout the law in the hope that decriminalisation will happen any time soon.
Commit the crime, pay the fine.
Copyright Seán J Crossan, 16 December 2019