What is a crime?

Did You Know?

The law uses the word 'sovereign' to describe the king or queen who is the head of a country. That is because the word 'sovereign' would apply  to the monarch, whether it was a queen or a king.

A monarchy is a country that has a king or queen as its head. The law says that the sovereign cannot commit an offence. The words they use to describe it is to say, 'The sovereign is above the law'. Some countries still have kings and queens but those people do not have a role in the government of their country, unlike the sovereign in the United Kingdom. The sovereign in the UK does not make the laws but he or she must agree to each one before it can be used. This is called the royal assent and you can find out more by clicking on the highlighted words.

There are also special rules for official people who represent an overseas country and live in the United Kingdom. These rules apply throughout the world, to safeguard officials from one country when they are living in another country.

Who can commit a crime?

Well anyone can commit a crime. OK, nearly anyone. The law says that children who are under ten years old cannot commit a crime. Some adults cannot commit a crime.

You would probably never think of these people committing crimes. Who are they? The Queen is above the law and she cannot commit a crime. The law uses the word 'sovereign' because that would apply to the monarch, whether it was a queen or a king. Not many countries in the world are monarchies. A monarchy is a country that has a king or queen as its head. If one of those kings or queens from another country lived in the United Kingdom they would also be above the law. There are also special rules for official people who represent an overseas country and live in the United Kingdom.