Knife Law

Having an article which has a blade (or is sharply pointed) namely a ___________ in a public place or on school premises.


Section 139 and Section 139A of the Criminal Justice Act 1988
Maximum Penalty

A fine of up to level 5 and/or 6 months’ imprisonment in the Magistrates’ Court or up to 4 years’ imprisonment and an unlimited fine in the Crown Court.

Things to Know

The offence can be dealt with in either the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court. The magistrates will have to decide whether they think that the case is suitable for them to deal with otherwise they will decline jurisdiction and the matter will have to be dealt with in the Crown Court. If the magistrates accept jurisdiction to deal with the case then the Defendant can choose to take the Crown Court if he/she so wishes.

The offence is not committed if the person is in possession of a folding pocket knife and the blade does not exceed 3 inches unless the blade can be secured in the open position by a locking device.

Defences Available

It is a defence for the accused to prove that he had good reason or lawful authority for having the article with him/her in a public place. The Defendant doesn’t have to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt, only that it is more probable than not. Good reason or lawful authority could include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • For use at work
  • For religious reasons other than where the reason was connected with a martial art and similar to a religious practice
  • As part of any national costume
  • For educational purposes