This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

Is Viewing Extreme Pornographic Material Illegal in England?

Question from Nand, Is Viewing Extreme Pornographic Material Illegal in England?

Answer from AI:

In England, the legality of viewing pornographic material is governed by several laws, with specific regulations concerning extreme pornographic content. It’s important to understand what is considered ‘extreme’ and the circumstances under which viewing such material could be illegal.

What Constitutes Extreme Pornographic Material?

Under the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, extreme pornographic material is defined as content that is:

  • Grossly offensive, disgusting, or otherwise of an obscene character.
  • Portrays in an explicit and realistic way any of the following:
    1. Acts which threaten a person’s life.
    2. Acts which result in or are likely to result in serious injury to a person’s anus, breasts, or genitals.
    3. Bestiality.
    4. Acts involving necrophilia.
  • Lacks a legitimate purpose or value.

Legality of Viewing Extreme Pornographic Material

Viewing extreme pornographic material in England can be illegal if the content falls within the categories outlined above. It is an offence to possess such material, and this can include downloading or simply viewing it online if the images are stored on your device, even temporarily. The law is designed to target the possession of extreme images rather than the act of viewing them. However, viewing can lead to possession, which is where the legal issue arises.

Potential Legal Consequences

If someone is found to be in possession of extreme pornographic material, they could face legal consequences, including:

  • Being charged with a criminal offence.
  • Potential imprisonment.
  • A criminal record, which could affect future employment and travel opportunities.

Exceptions and Defences

There are certain exceptions and defences under the law, such as material that is classified by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) or if the individual did not knowingly possess the material. However, these defences are specific and limited, and it is advisable to consult with a legal professional if you find yourself involved in a case concerning extreme pornographic material.

Seeking Legal Advice

If you are unsure about the legality of material you have come across or are concerned about potential legal issues related to extreme pornographic content, it is important to seek personalized legal advice. A legal professional can provide guidance based on the specifics of your situation.


In summary, while viewing pornographic material is not illegal per se in England, the possession of extreme pornographic material is. It is crucial to be aware of what is considered ‘extreme’ and to understand that even viewing such content can lead to possession, which is against the law. For more detailed information, you can refer to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. Always consider consulting with a legal professional for advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

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