Antisocial behaviour orders

This section looks at antisocial behaviour orders and interim antisocial behaviour orders.

This content applies to Scotland

Definition of antisocial behaviour

Antisocial behaviour orders (ASBOs) were introduced on 1 April 1999. [1] The original legislation has now been replaced and the provisions extended. [2]

Antisocial behaviour is defined for this purpose as acting in a manner or pursuing a course of conduct that causes, or is likely to cause, alarm or distress to one or more people who are not members of the individual's household. [3] There are no precise definitions of this but examples could include racial harassment, threatening abusive behaviour, vandalism, or noise.

Making an application for an ASBO

An antisocial behaviour order (ASBO) can be applied for whether the individual is tenant of a local authority, registered social landlord or private landlord, an owner-occupier or has no fixed address. [4] However, guidance makes it clear that it is not appropriate to apply for an antisocial behaviour order where someone is unable to understand the consequences of her/his actions. The guidance suggests that behaviour that occurs as a result of a disorder, disability or condition is not appropriately addressed by using an ASBO. [5]

Although only a local authority or registered social landlord can actually make the application, anyone can request that they consider such an application. If an order is granted to a local authority it applies anywhere in the area covered by the authority. If it is granted to a registered social landlord, it will apply to premises provided by or managed by the landlord, and their vicinity. [6]

A local authority or registered social landlord, after consulting with the police, can make an application to the sheriff court for an ASBO against any individual aged 12 or over whose behaviour is antisocial. [7] This is a power that local authorities and registered social landlords have: it is not a duty. Consequently, neither can be forced to make an application. A registered social landlord must tell the local authority an application is to be made. [8] If the ASBO is being sought for someone who is aged 12 to 15, the local authority or registered social landlord must also consult with the Principal Reporter before making the application. [9] The sheriff must take the views of the Principal Reporter into account before making an order. [10] In addition, the children's panel will give advice to the sheriff on whether an order is needed before a full ASBO is granted.

An ASBO applies only to an individual and if there were, for example, several members of a family involved in the alleged behaviour, a separate order would need to be obtained against each individual aged 12 or over.

The effect of an ASBO

The ASBO prohibits the individual subject to it from doing whatever the order defines as necessary to protect people in the area from further antisocial behaviour on the part of the individual. [11] In extreme cases, this could include preventing someone from returning to her/his home. This could have implications in relation to intentional homelessness and for Housing Benefit.

For more information on intentionality, please see the section on intentional homelessness.

For more information on Housing Benefit, please see the section on Housing Benefit.

If the order is breached without reasonable excuse, the individual will be committing a criminal offence, carrying a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment, a fine or both. [12]

Once an ASBO is obtained, it will remain in force for the period specified in the order or indefinitely, although it is possible to apply to have the order revoked. [13]

Interim antisocial behaviour orders

Interim antisocial behaviour orders were introduced on 27 June 2003. [14] The original legislation has now been replaced. [15]

Interim orders allow the sheriff courts to grant an order designed to prevent antisocial behaviour prior to a full court hearing. The application is made at the same time as for the full ASBO.

The order can only be made if the individual who is to be subject to it has been told that an application for an interim order and a full ASBO is being made to the court. [16] The sheriff must be satisfied that the accusation of antisocial behaviour will be confirmed at the full court hearing and must also be satisfied that the order is necessary to protect someone from any further antisocial behaviour. [17]

If the interim order is being sought for someone who is aged 12 to 15, the sheriff must take the views of the Principal Reporter into account before making an order. [18]

On 2 July 2003, Fife Council became the first council to obtain an interim order banning a Kirkcaldy resident from playing loud music, shouting or banging within her home. [19]

Last updated: 29 January 2020

Footnotes

  • [1]

    s.19 Crime and Disorder Act 1998

  • [2]

    Part 2 Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004

  • [3]

    s.143(1) Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004

  • [4]

    para.19 Guidance on Antisocial Behaviour Orders Scottish Executive 28 October 2004

  • [5]

    para.28 Guidance on Antisocial Behaviour Orders Scottish Executive 28 October 2004

  • [6]

    para.41 and para.42 Guidance on Antisocial Behaviour Orders Scottish Executive 28 October 2004

  • [7]

    s.4(1) and s.4(2) Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004

  • [8]

    s.4(11)(b) Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004

  • [9]

    s.4(11)(b) Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004

  • [10]

    s.4(4) Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004

  • [11]

    s.4(5) and s.4(6) Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004

  • [12]

    s.9(1) and s.9(2) Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004

  • [13]

    s.5 Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004

  • [14]

    s.19(2A) Crime and Disorder Act 1998 as inserted by s.44(1) Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003

  • [15]

    Part 2 Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004

  • [16]

    s.7(1) Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004

  • [17]

    s.7(2) Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004

  • [18]

    s.7(3) Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004

  • [19]

    Inside Housing 8 August 2003