Compounding a felony was an offence under the common law of England and was classified as a misdemeanour. It consisted of a prosecutor or victim of an offence accepting anything of value under an agreement not to prosecute, or to hamper the prosecution of, a felony.[1] To "compound", in this context, means to come to a settlement or agreement.[2] It is not compounding for the victim to accept an offer to return stolen property, or to make restitution, as long as there is no agreement not to prosecute.

Compounding has been replaced by statutory provision in numerous jurisdictions that recognize common law offences:[3]

Compounding a misdemeanor is not an offence at common law.[8][better source needed] However, an agreement not to prosecute a misdemeanor is unenforceable as being contrary to public policy.[9][verification needed]

See also


  1. ^ Boyce & Perkins, Criminal Law, 3rd ed. (1992) at 576.
  2. ^ "compound - definition of compound by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia". Farlex, Inc. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  3. ^ Dasinger, Brian (2014), Felonies, retrieved 18 April 2014[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Criminal Law Act 1967: Section 5",, The National Archives, 1967 c. 58 (s. 5), subsection (5)
  5. ^ The Criminal Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1967 (c.18), section 5(5)
  6. ^ The Criminal Law Act 1997 (No.14), section 8(3)
  7. ^ The Crimes Act 1900, section 341
  8. ^ Tripathi, Ayushi (30 September 2019). "Compounding of Offences". Law Times Journal. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  9. ^ Boyce & Perkins, Criminal Law, 3rd ed. (1992) at 578.