The Urge to Over-Legislate: Criminal Law and Public Opinion in the United Kingdom

Publication Date: March 2008

Publisher: Heritage Foundation (Washington, D.C.)

Author(s): Inigo Bing

Research Area: Law and ethics

Keywords: Legal issues; legislate; reform club; over-legislate

Type: Speech

Coverage: Great Britain


In the 10 years in which Tony Blair was Prime Minister in Britain a total of 3,023 new offenses were legislated--roughly two new crimes created for every day Parliament was in session. Many of these new laws are trivial and unnecessary. Many of the offenses are addressed appropriately in civil law. But lawmakers bowed to the public's clamor to "do something" with results that are unjust and destructive.