Double Jeopardy Laws Around the World



9 Questions

What is double jeopardy?

Which countries recognise the guarantee against being 'twice put in jeopardy' as a constitutional right?

What is the equivalent concept of double jeopardy in civil law?

In which country is prosecution for a crime already judged impossible, even if incriminating evidence has been found?

Which country's Constitution guarantees protection against autrefois acquit as a statutory right?

What is the dual sovereignty doctrine in the United States?

What is the Blockburger test used for in the United States?

What is the rule for mistrials in the United States?

What is the exception to double jeopardy in England and Wales since the Criminal Justice Act 2003?


Double Jeopardy: A legal defence preventing someone from being tried again on the same charges

  • Double jeopardy is a procedural defence that prevents an accused person from being tried again on the same charges following an acquittal or conviction, and in rare cases prosecutorial and/or judge misconduct in the same jurisdiction.

  • Double jeopardy is a common concept in criminal law. In civil law, a similar concept is that of res judicata.

  • In some countries, including Canada, Mexico, and the United States, the guarantee against being "twice put in jeopardy" is a constitutional right.

  • In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, serious offences may be re-tried following an acquittal if new and compelling evidence is found and if the trial is found to be in the public's interest.

  • The 72 signatories and 166 parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights recognise, under Article 14 (7), that no one shall be liable to be tried or punished again for an offence for which they have already been finally convicted or acquitted in accordance with the law and penal procedure of each country.

  • All members of the Council of Europe have adopted the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects against double jeopardy.

  • In Australia, double jeopardy law prevents the prosecution for perjury following a previous acquittal where a finding of perjury would controvert the acquittal.

  • In rare circumstances, when a trial judge made all the factual findings necessary for a finding of guilt but misapplied the law, a court of appeal might also directly substitute an acquittal for a conviction.

  • In France, once all appeals have been exhausted on a case, the judgement is final and the action of the prosecution is closed except if the final ruling was forged. Prosecution for a crime already judged is impossible even if incriminating evidence has been found.

  • In India, protection against autrefois acquit is a statutory right, not a fundamental one. Such protection is provided by provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure rather than by the Constitution.

  • In the Netherlands, the state prosecution can appeal a not-guilty verdict at the bench. New evidence can be applied during a retrial at a district court.

  • In Pakistan, double jeopardy is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 20 (2) of the Constitution of Pakistan, which states "No person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once".Double Jeopardy Laws Around the World

  • Article 13 of the Constitution of Pakistan and Section 403 of The Code of Criminal Procedure protect citizens from being punished or prosecuted more than once for the same offence.

  • Serbia incorporated the principle of double jeopardy into its Constitution and elaborated it further in its Criminal Procedure Act.

  • South Africa's Bill of Rights in the Constitution forbids a retrial when there has already been an acquittal or a conviction.

  • Article 13 of the South Korean constitution provides that no citizen shall be placed in double jeopardy.

  • In England and Wales, double jeopardy has been permitted in certain exceptional circumstances since the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

  • Prior to 2003, the common law doctrines of autrefois acquit and autrefois convict persisted, with only three exceptions.

  • Following the murder of Stephen Lawrence, the Criminal Justice Act 2003 opened certain serious crimes to a retrial, regardless of when committed, with two conditions.

  • The Double Jeopardy (Scotland) Act 2011 introduced three broad exceptions to the rule in Scotland.

  • In Northern Ireland, certain "qualifying offences" are subject to retrial after acquittal if there is a finding by the Court of Appeal that there is "new and compelling evidence."

  • The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides protection against double jeopardy, but the dual sovereignty doctrine allows multiple sovereigns to indict a defendant for the same crime.

  • The government is not permitted to appeal or retry the defendant once jeopardy attaches to a trial unless the case does not conclude.

  • The Blockburger test is used to determine whether the government may separately try and punish the defendant for two crimes if each crime contains an element that the other does not.

  • The rule for mistrials depends upon who sought the mistrial.


Test your knowledge of double jeopardy laws around the world with this informative quiz. From the constitutional protections in the United States and Canada to the retrial exceptions in England and Wales, this quiz covers various aspects of double jeopardy in criminal law. Explore the different approaches countries take to prevent someone from being tried again on the same charges and learn about the exceptions and conditions that allow for retrial. Challenge yourself to see how much you know about this important legal concept.

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