Obscene Publications Acts
|Act of Parliament|
|Territorial extent||England and Wales|
|Text of the Obscene Publications Acts as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from legislation.gov.uk.|
Since 1857, a series of obscenity laws known as the Obscene Publications Acts have governed what can be published in England and Wales. The classic definition of criminal obscenity is if it "tends to deprave and corrupt," stated in 1868 by Lord Justice Cockburn, in Regina v. Hicklin, now known as the Hicklin test.
Timeline of legislation
There have been several Acts of Parliament of this name:
Of these, only the 1959 and 1964 acts are still in force in England and Wales, as amended by more recent legislation. They define the legal bounds of obscenity in England and Wales, and are used to enforce the removal of obscene material. Irish law diverged from English law in 1929, replacing the OPA 1857 with a new Irish act.
Key cases under the Obscene Publications Act
Scottish prohibitions on obscene material are to be found in section 51 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982.
- Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 – defines 'extreme pornography' and details offences
- Censorship in the United Kingdom