Published by a LexisPSL Corporate Crime expert

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Affray
  • Elements of the offence of affray
  • Meaning of intention
  • Meaning of threat of violence
  • Meaning of unlawful violence
  • Effect of intoxication and affray
  • Place of commission of the offence
  • Sentencing for affray
  • Magistrates’ court
  • Crown Court
  • More...


Affray is an offence created by the Public Order Act 1986 (POA 1986). It can be tried in either the magistrates’ court or the Crown Court.

The magistrates’ court may decline jurisdiction where for example in cases involving a weapon/throwing objects, or conduct that causes serious injury.

Elements of the offence of affray

The prosecution must prove:

  1. a person

  2. intentionally

  3. uses or threatens unlawful violence towards another, or

  4. is aware that their conduct may be violent or threatening towards another

  5. a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene, and

  6. would fear for their safety

Where a group of people (ie two or more persons) use or threaten the unlawful violence, it is the conduct of them taken together which is to be considered for establishing whether an offence has been committed. In Dragjoshi v Croydon Magistrates’ Court, the Appellant appealed his conviction by way of case stated, challenging whether it was open to the court to convict him in the absence of any reliable identification evidence, particularly where there was accepted evidence that there were individuals who sought to prevent violence and where there was no finding that the Appellant himself used or threatened to use unlawful violence. The Divisional Court dismissed the appeal, confirming that to be guilty of affray there need not be an attribution of individual roles to the participants—under POA 1986, s 3(2)

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