England dating laws
RELATED FACTSHEET Sex and the Law, Northern Ireland (PDF) The age of consent to any form of sexual activity is 16 for both men and women.
The age of consent is the same regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of a person and whether the sexual activity is between people of the same or different gender.
The higher court holds the ratio given by the lower court to be incorrect law and reverses the decision. Only legal ‘persons’ can become liable or pursue an action under the law.
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It is an offence for anyone to have any sexual activity with a person under the age of 16.
In a later case between C and D, on the same point, in the same or a higher court, the ratio in A v B is held to be incorrect and is therefore overruled (or it might be ruled correct and affirmed).
A possible defence could be that one of the partners believed the other to be aged 16 or over.
Guidance from the Scottish Government acknowledges that not every case of sexual activity in under-16s will have child protection concerns, but young people may still be in need of support in relation to their sexual development and relationships. A range of specific offences protect children under 13, who cannot legally give their consent to any form of sexual activity.
The maximum penalty could be life imprisonment for rape, sexual assault, sexual assault by penetration, or causing a young child to participate in sexual activity.
There is no defence that the accused believed that the child was older.