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 the UK?

Question from ddf, Is Viewing Extreme Pornographic Material Illegal in the UK?

Answer from AI:

In the United Kingdom, the legal framework surrounding the possession and viewing of pornographic material, particularly extreme pornography, is governed by several laws. The primary legislation is the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, specifically Section 63, which introduced offenses relating to extreme pornographic images.

Understanding the Law on Extreme Pornography

The law defines extreme pornographic material as images that:

  • Portray, in an explicit and realistic way, certain acts such as serious injury, a threat to life, or acts which involve sexual interference with a human corpse or an animal.
  • Are grossly offensive, disgusting, or otherwise of an obscene character.
  • Would likely cause sexual arousal to some viewers.

Is Viewing Considered Possession?

Under UK law, simply viewing content on the internet without deliberately downloading or saving it to a device may not necessarily constitute possession. However, the legal distinction can be complex because:

  • Web browsers often automatically save temporary files and images in the cache, which could be considered possession.
  • If the material is deemed extreme and falls under the categories prohibited by the Act, having such files on your device, even temporarily, could potentially lead to criminal charges.

Legal Implications of Viewing Extreme Material

While the act of viewing alone, without saving or distributing, is not explicitly covered by the Act, it can still be risky:

  • If law enforcement were to investigate and find such material cached on your device, it could be difficult to prove that the content was not intentionally downloaded or saved.
  • Intentionally accessing websites that host extreme pornographic material could be seen as an act of possession, especially if there is a pattern of behavior that suggests deliberate access.

When to Seek Legal Advice

If you are concerned about the legality of material you have come across online, or if you are facing legal action related to the possession of extreme pornographic material, it is crucial to seek personalized legal advice. A legal professional can provide guidance based on the specifics of your situation.


In summary, while the act of merely viewing extreme pornographic material on a public website without downloading or saving it may not always lead to criminal charges, it is a legally grey area that could potentially have serious consequences. It is important to be aware of the laws and to exercise caution when accessing any content online. For more detailed information on the legislation, you can visit the UK Government’s legislation website.

Remember, this information is not a substitute for professional legal advice. If you are in doubt or require assistance, please consult a qualified legal professional.

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