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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70508
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Under UK Law, is a relationship between an 18 year old

Customer Question

Under UK Law, is a sexual relationship between an 18 year old pupil and their school teacher illegal? The relationship began when the pupil was 18, and was consensual.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
As long as the pupil was 18 at the time of the start of the relationship there is no offence. The normal age of consent is 16 but not with positions of trust such as this.
Obviously there is a requirement for consent despite this.
Your primary point being the age limit though, this relationship is perfectly lawful.
The school may have an issue with it from a policy point of view but the police will not be interested unless, of course, any person is going to lie through their teeth and make allegations that this began earlier or did not involve good consent.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Jo C. and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you.

One clarification: the parties knew each other and talked before the pupil was 18. Although there was nothing sexual about the relationship before then, the two were certainly close. Does that change things at all?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Well, there are always two answers with this type of thing - firstly the actual objective legal answer and secondly the one that should really be considered.
From a legal point of view, this changes nothing at all. Unless you actually have sexual activity with your pupil under 18 you are not committing an offence.
From a practical point of view though, you have to consider how this may appear to a paranoid onlooker. Hysteria about sexual offences being what it is at the moment, this relationship does expose you to allegations and they lead to investigations and even if they conclude that you have done nothing wrong at all there is still damage to your reputation. Also, you have to bear in mind that even if the young lady is being reasonable now she may not be when you finish. In fairness, I'm sure most women don't manipulate in that way but there are a small number that do.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Absolutely - the relationship being over down to a (admittedly rather too late) crisis of conscience I am trying to get a sense of the legal position.

One final follow, if I may, (before the top rating!).

Am I under a legal obligation to inform the school? I have already handed in my notice (as far as they are concerned for other reasons), but technically remain contracted until the end of August. Again, the right and moral thing to do is not necessarily the same as what is strictly legal - but it would be good to understand the full position.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
You will be OK as long as she isn't a person giving to histronics. The trouble with revenge accusers is that attention seeking narcisstic people who like the attention of being a victim don't wear uniforms. Its quite easy to form the view that they are reasonable people with whom you can be safe.
In fairness, the world is filled with women who had sex underage and they don't all go charging down to the police station to make vexatious claims about it. There are a small number of young women who use allegations to get revenge and if she were of that kind you probably would have known about it by now. They are quite easy to spot when you know what you are looking for.
You are not under an obligation to inform them unless your contract says that you must.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you very much for your help.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
No problem and all the best.

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