British Virgin Islands Criminal Code
The British Virgin Islands Criminal Code (No 1 of 1997) is a statute
A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative authority that governs a state, city, or county. Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare policy. The word is often used to distinguish law made by legislative bodies from case law, decided by courts, and regulations...

 of the British Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands, often called the British Virgin Islands , is a British overseas territory and overseas territory of the European Union, located in the Caribbean to the east of Puerto Rico. The islands make up part of the Virgin Islands archipelago, the remaining islands constituting the U.S...

 which consolidates almost all of the indictable offence
Indictable offence
In many common law jurisdictions , an indictable offence is an offence which can only be tried on an indictment after a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is a prima facie case to answer or by a grand jury...

s under the Territory's criminal law
Criminal law
Criminal law, is the body of law that relates to crime. It might be defined as the body of rules that defines conduct that is not allowed because it is held to threaten, harm or endanger the safety and welfare of people, and that sets out the punishment to be imposed on people who do not obey...


The Code was passed into law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 by the Legislative Council
Legislative Council of the British Virgin Islands
The House of Assembly of the British Virgin Islands, until 2007 known as the Legislative Council, has 15 members; 13 directly elected for four year terms—nine in single-seat constituencies and four "at large"—one ex-officio member and one Speaker chosen from outside the house.The first...

 on 1 April 1997, received Royal Assent
Royal Assent
The granting of royal assent refers to the method by which any constitutional monarch formally approves and promulgates an act of his or her nation's parliament, thus making it a law...

 on 1 May 1997, and was brought into force on 1 September 1997.

It is sometimes mistakenly said that the Code contains all of the Territory's criminal laws, but this is not the case. The Act expressly preserves offences under other enactments, as well as offences at common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...



After the preamble and various preliminary matters, the Act is divided into 21 parts as follows:
  • Part I - General rules as to criminal liability.
  • Part II - Punishments
  • Part III - Offences against Government and public order
  • Part IV - Offences against the administration of lawful authority
  • Part V - Offences relating to the administration of justice
  • Part VI - Offences relating to religion
  • Part VII - Sexual offences
  • Part VIII - Abortion
    Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

  • Part IX - Offences relating to marriage
    Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

  • Part X - Genocide
    Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

  • Part XI - Homicide
    Homicide refers to the act of a human killing another human. Murder, for example, is a type of homicide. It can also describe a person who has committed such an act, though this use is rare in modern English...

     and other offences against the person
    Offence against the person
    In criminal law, an offence against the person usually refers to a crime which is committed by direct physical harm or force being applied to another person.They are usually analysed by division into the following categories:*Fatal offences*Sexual offences...

  • Part XII - Neglect endangering life or health
  • Part XIII - Abduction
    In criminal law, kidnapping is the taking away or transportation of a person against that person's will, usually to hold the person in false imprisonment, a confinement without legal authority...

    , kidnapping
    In criminal law, kidnapping is the taking away or transportation of a person against that person's will, usually to hold the person in false imprisonment, a confinement without legal authority...

     and similar crimes
  • Part XIV - Offences relating to property
  • Part XV - Forgery
    Forgery is the process of making, adapting, or imitating objects, statistics, or documents with the intent to deceive. Copies, studio replicas, and reproductions are not considered forgeries, though they may later become forgeries through knowing and willful misrepresentations. Forging money or...

    , coining and counterfeiting
  • Part XVI - Personation
    Personation is a term used in law for the specific kind of voter fraud where an individual votes in an election, whilst pretending to be a different elector....

  • Part XVII - Criminal damage and similar offences
  • Part XVIII - Criminal libel
    Criminal libel
    Criminal libel is a legal term, of English origin, which may be used with one of two distinct meanings, in those common law jurisdictions where it is still used....

  • Part XIX - Nuisance
    Nuisance is a common law tort. It means that which causes offence, annoyance, trouble or injury. A nuisance can be either public or private. A public nuisance was defined by English scholar Sir J. F...

     and other offences against the public in general
  • Part XX - Conspiracy
    Conspiracy (crime)
    In the criminal law, a conspiracy is an agreement between two or more persons to break the law at some time in the future, and, in some cases, with at least one overt act in furtherance of that agreement...

    , attempt
    Attempt was originally an offence under the common law of England.Attempt crimes are crimes where the defendant's actions have the form of the actual enaction of the crime itself: the actions must go beyond mere preparation....

    and assisting offenders
  • Part XXI - Miscellaneous
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