Know the rules

The UK is a welcoming and exciting place to come to live and study, and has a liberal culture in which personal freedoms are highly valued. However, there are some laws and rules that may be different to what you're used to.

Find out some of the main laws and rules that will apply to you while you're studying in Leeds, including regulations about driving, alcohol consumption and controlled drugs.

UK Laws

There may be some differences between the law in your country and the law in the UK. For example, in the UK:

  • You must not use or carry any illegal drugs, including cannabis, ecstasy, LSD or amphetamines. The University also has a legal responsibility to ensure that it does not allow its premises to be used for illegal drug activities.
  • It is illegal to carry self-defence CS gas sprays, guns or stun guns. There are also very strict laws and penalties around carrying knives.
  • You must be aged 18 or over to buy tobacco and alcohol.
  • You should never buy property that you think might be stolen, no matter how tempting it seems.
  • It is illegal to drive a car without the correct driving licence and without car insurance. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious offence.

For more information visit the Student Advice Centre Crime and Law webpages.

If you are arrested

There is lots of information on the Student Advice Centre Crime and Law webpages, including information on being arrested. If you are arrested for any criminal offence you are obliged to inform the University. If you do not do so, you could face action under the University Disciplinary Procedures.

If you have been involved in criminal proceedings in any way, your academic work may be adversely affected and you should notify your department to discuss the possibility of being considered for mitigating circumstances. If you have been affected by crime, you can get information and advice from the Student Advice Centre.

TV Licence

If you watch or record television programmes in the UK as they're being shown on TV or live on an online TV service, you must, by law, have a TV Licence. 

You also need to be covered by a TV Licence to download or watch BBC programmes on demand, including catch up TV, on BBC iPlayer. This applies to any device and provider you use.

If you're caught without one you may receive a criminal conviction and a fine. A TV Licence costs £145.50 for a year. You can pay in weekly, monthly or quarterly instalments.

Visit the TV Licensing website for more information and how to pay.

Driving in the UK

If your driving licence has been issued outside of the UK then visit the UKCISA website to find out if your licence is valid in the UK.

If you wish to drive a car in the UK but do not currently hold a valid licence to do so, you will need to apply for a provisional licence and take a driving test in order to obtain a full licence. For more information about learning to drive in the UK visit the gov.uk website

For more information on driving visit the UKCISA driving webpage.

Pedestrian crossings

The UK has a range of different types of pedestrian crossings to help you cross roads. The way that they work may differ to the pedestrian crossings in your home country. Always wait until it is safe to cross the road. Remember that vehicles may also be driving on the opposite side of the road to what you're used to. For more information, visit the gov.uk website.