Are you Lord Chief Justice or in the dock? Test your legal knowledge with MM’s quick law quiz

Most people have been in a position at some point in their lives where a sound knowledge of the law could have got them out of a sticky situation. 

And unless you work in the legal sector, there’s a good chance your grasp of the many complexities of UK law will be basic at best. 

Of course, you could always go away and study the law, something which will take time and money – two commodities that are in short supply these days. 

With this in mind, MM have partnered up with Olliers Solicitors, a leading criminal law firm based in Manchester, to offer invaluable insight to UK law.

Olliers will be offering to answer YOUR law queries every week – and they also have a specialist department in motor law.

So have you ever wondered what the legal consequences are of cutting someone up on the motorway are?

Or how much you are really at risk for downloading those movies before they came out on DVD?

Olliers Solicitors can answer all these for you – just email your questions to newsdesk (at) mancunianmatters (dot) co (dot) uk or tweet them to us @MM_newsonline

To welcome this new partnership, Olliers Solicitors has compiled a legal quiz to help test just how sound – or un-sound – your legal knowledge really is.

We all like to offer our opinion to friends and relatives that find themselves on the wrong side of the law, but just how good is your advice?

Q1) John and his mates have just been dropped back at the local boozer after a day at the races.

Within minutes, John gets in an argument with Kevin, who’s been gobbing off all afternoon about how much money he’s won.

Down to his last twenty pence and not in the mood to take anymore, John is midway through giving Kevin a piece of his mind when he’s punched clean on the end of his nose.

Fuming, with his pride hurt almost as much as his wallet, John puts down his glass and retaliates by punching Kevin in the face, causing a cut above his eye.


What offence has John committed?

a) Common Assault

b) Assault occasioning actual bodily harm

c) Wounding

d) None of the above, he was acting in Self Defence.


Q2) The Landlord calls the police. When the boys in blue eventually turn up, John and Kevin have made up and are best of mates.

Nobody saw anything and both men firmly tell the police they’re not pressing charges.

Unfortunately, keen as mustard, Special Constable Dibble seizes the CCTV which captures the whole incident.

As a result, both men are arrested and interviewed by the police.

USUAL SUSPECTS: Always have a solicitor present during police interviews (Image courtesy of Spelling Films International, via YouTube, with thanks)


What would you advise John to do when interviewed by the police?

a) Make no comment, it can’t go anywhere if Kevin keeps his trap shut.

b) Tell the truth about what happened, honesty’s always the best policy.

c) Get a solicitor, better to get some professional advice.


Q3) Interview completed, John gets a lucky break when he’s bailed to attend Court the following week.

Even better, his car is in the pub car park over the road and he feels fit to drive. He only lives 150 yards away, besides, that car park’s not safe.

As he drives back past the nick he’s spotted by our ever vigilant part-timer and realises he’s being followed home.

He bolts through the door and quickly has a stiff brandy to calm his nerves. Seconds later police officers are at the door demanding a breath test.

(Image courtesy of PDPhotos, with thanks.


What should John do?

a) Refuse to provide the sample, the brandy could have put him over, he’s asking for trouble by providing it.

b) Provide the sample, he can argue the toss later.

c) Challenge the officer’s right to enter the house, he hasn’t got a warrant.


Q4) John tells the police  to come back with a warrant.

Not sure what to do, he goes back to the station with his tail between his legs to ask for advice before returning with some proper officers who  find John sat in the car, having been thrown out by his partner for being out all night.

John’s arrested when he refuses to provide a sample of breath. Just when he thought his night couldn’t get any worse the police checks the glove compartment and finds a snap bag of cannabis.

John’s arrested despite his protest that he has to pick his workmates up in just three hours.

John continues to refuse to provide a breath sample and makes no comment when interviewed, he’s charged with one offence the following morning.


Which of the following is it?

a) Drunk in Charge of a motor vehicle

b) Possession of Cannabis

c) Failing to provide a sample


Q5) Ultimately, John is convicted of a string of offences: assault, drink driving, failing to stop and possession of cannabis.


It turns out he was on a suspended sentence and he’s sent straight to prison.

On day one, his cellmate Fletcher takes his only copy of GQ magazine. 

When John threatens to grass to him up to a friendly screw, Mr McKay, Fletch states he honestly believed he was entitled to it for having shown him the ropes and lent him his NUTS magazine.

He threatens to kill John if he goes to McKay. He doesn’t think for a minute that John will believe that he means it – he doesn’t.

DOING TIME: John’s actions have seen himself doing porridge 

What offence(s) is Fletch guilty of?

a) Theft

b) Threats to kill

c) Neither

d) Both



Award yourself points as follows:

Q1) a) 2         b) 2         c) 2         d) 0

A nice easy one to get started. Technically, because John has caused an injury that broken the skin, he has committed the offence of wounding.

That said, depending on the level of injury, he may well be charged with any of the first three offences.

A very slight cut would be likely to be charged as common assault, a deeper cut, ABH and a cut that resulted in permanent scarring a wounding (the more serious of the three).

Clearly, he would require proper advice before accepting what, if anything, he was guilty of.

It’s not self-defence because there doesn’t appear to be any threat at the time that John hit Kevin.

It often annoys people that they can’t hit back in retaliation. There has to be an ongoing threat to rely on Self Defence


Q2) a) 0         b) 1         c) 3

It’s getting a bit more complicated. The truth is, there’s a lot more information needed to determine the best thing to do.

Even though nobody wants to press charges, sometimes CCTV is sufficient to land people in Court.

How good is the quality? Can John be identified from it?

Remember, if there’s no witnesses there’s no direct evidence at this stage that John was even involved.

That said, if it’s good quality CCTV and John has no previous convictions, admitting everything and getting it dealt with ‘out of court’ may well be the best of a bad job.

He certainly ought not to be making ‘no comment’ without a solicitor. The fact is – he needs one.

This can have far reaching implications and questions need to be asked of the police which only a legal qualified person would be aware of.


Q3) a) 0         b) 3         c) 1

Even trickier. The brandy may well have put him over the limit.

If he provides a sample, an expert could be instructed who could determine his level of intoxication at the point that he drove the car, potentially resulting in an acquittal.

Failing to provide a sample is an offence in its own right and is rarely a good idea, although there are examples of people who have avoided a disqualification after having had requested a solicitor in the police station. It is very complicated though.

While there are strict rules that limit the circumstances in which a police officer can enter a property, chasing a drink driver is allowed.

In fairness, any officer wanting to enter a property ought to be able to tell you what power they are exercising.

Q4) a) 1         b) 0         c) 3

It is most likely that John will be charged with failing to provide a sample of breath.

As stated above, there are few occasions in which it is appropriate (or lawful) not to provide a sample and the law is complicated.

In very simple terms, if you’ve no pre-existing medical condition and don’t provide – you’re guilty.

The Sentencing guidelines generally are harsher than for drink driving itself as there appears to be an assumption that you didn’t provide because you were ‘well over’ the limit.

He may well ultimately be charged with Possession of Cannabis but a conviction, with a decent lawyer, would be unlikely, especially as John made it clear that others use his car (his workmates).

Charge would be unlikely the following morning as the police would normally require forensics to prove he had previously held the cannabis in his possession.

If the Special Constable provided evidence that John’s driving was impaired and there was evidence (perhaps from the police doctor) that John was drunk, technically he could be convicted of being ‘being unfit through drink’ – again, it’s complicated.

Failing to provide would normally be preferred by the police.


Q5 a) 1         b) 0         c) 3         d) 0

While on the face of it one would think Fletch was guilty of theft, the legislation states that it is a defence if a person has an honest belief that they were entitled to the property. 

That said, given Fletch is doing a five stretch for burglary, the Court might not accept that Fletch is being entirely honest.

Similarly, he’s not guilty of making ‘threats to kill’, an offence in its own right unless he intends the person to whom the threat is made (or someone else) to believe that the threat will be carried out.

How do you measure up?


0-5          PCSO

You really haven’t got a clue about the law. Your efforts to help your mates could land them (and quite possibly you) in some serious trouble.

Steer clear of advising anyone but your worst enemies …and start carrying the card of a reputable Solicitor.


6-10        Barrack Room Lawyer

Well done, you certainly have enough knowledge to impress your mates at work or in the pub.You can talk the talk and have got a fair idea of how it works.

Be careful though – a little knowledge can be a very dangerous thing, especially when doling out legal advice.

Invest in some insurance.


11-14     Lord Chief Justice

Top  Marks. You ought to be spending your time between advocacy in the Court of Appeal and advising on multi-handed terrorist cases in Paddington Green police station.

Invest in a wig and gown.

In all seriousness, the moral of the story is that law can be a complicated business and is not always as straightforward as we imagine.

If you’re arrested or about to be spoken to by the police, or simply need advice, you really do need the services of an expert – you wouldn’t try do-it-yourself dentistry.

Over the next few months, Olliers Solicitors will be on hand to answer your Criminal Law enquiries.

You can send in your questions to Olliers Solicitors in two ways:  just email your questions to newsdesk (at) mancunianmatters (dot) co (dot) uk or tweet them to us @MM_newsonline

For more information on Olliers Solicitors, please click here.

Image courtesy of BBC America via Youtube with thanks

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