Law Reform, Practice and Procedure

The Law Commission's Report on Kidnapping, False Imprisonment & Child Abduction

PUBLISHED November 24, 2014

Please see the publication of the Law Commission’s report on kidnapping, false imprisonment and child abduction. The report can be downloaded at Let us know if you wish to receive a hard copy of the Report.
We were asked to examine the current common law offences of kidnapping and false imprisonment. We recommend that both offences be replaced in statute. We recommend that false imprisonment be renamed unlawful detention to reflect the nature of that offence, but that the elements of the statutory offence otherwise largely remain as at common law. Regarding kidnapping, we recommend a simpler, somewhat narrower and more focussed offence, centred on the use or threat of force to move a person.
We were also asked to consider whether the current offences of child abduction under sections 1 and 2 of the Child Abduction Act 1984 (CAA) require reform. We recommend that the sentencing powers for conviction of offences under sections 1 and 2 CAA should be increased to a maximum sentence of 14 years’ imprisonment. We further recommend that the offence under section 1 CAA should be amended to include the wrongful retention of a child abroad by a parent or connected person.