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Arrest and Detention in the UK

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act (1984) provides a set of directions police must follow in the case of an arrest. These include providing a translator if necessary and seeing that legal representation is obtained.

In most cases, an arrested person is provided with a solicitor through Legal Aid. The Solicitors in the United Kingdom section of our website may assist you in choosing your own solicitor, should you wish to do so.

An arrested person must appear before a magistrates court within 24 hours of the arrest or 36 hours (if the arrest has taken place on a weekend).

If you are a Canadian citizen detained or arrested in the UK and wish to have Canadian consular officials notified, you must make that request to the arresting authorities.

If and when the High Commission is advised of your detention, a consular officer will arrange to send you a booklet entitled A Guide for Canadians Imprisoned Abroad, which provides useful advice regarding consular services.

What the High Commission can do:

  • Make every effort to ensure that you are able to make contact with your family
  • Make every effort to ensure that your treatment and conditions of detention are fair and equal to those accorded to local prisoners
  • Follow your case through the legal system
  • Liaise with a designated family member and solicitor if you provide your consent

What the High Commission cannot do:

  • Protect Canadians from the consequences of their actions
  • Override the decisions of local authorities
  • Provide legal advice
  • Recommend specific lawyers
  • Seek preferential treatment for Canadians
  • Exempt Canadians from the due process of local law


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