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In common law, a hue and cry (Latin, hutesium et clamor, "a horn and shouting", or from ME "hu", and AF "cri") is a process by which bystanders are summoned to assist in the apprehension of a criminal who has been witnessed in the act of committing a crime.

By the statute of Winchester, 13 Edw. I cc. 1 and 4, (1285) it was provided that anyone, either a constable or a private citizen, who witnessed a crime shall make hue and cry, and that the hue and cry must be kept up against the fleeing criminal from town to town and from county to county, until the felon is apprehended and delivered to the sheriff. All able-bodied men, upon hearing the shouts, were obliged to assist in the pursuit of the criminal, which makes it comparable to the posse comitatus. It was moreover provided that a hundred that failed to give pursuit on the hue and cry would become liable in case of any theft or robbery. Those who raised a hue and cry falsely were themselves guilty of a crime.

In Oliver Twist, Fagin reads a magazine called the Hue and Cry which was a weekly Police Gazette detailing crimes and wanted people.


In contemporary terms, the hue and cry is also used figuratively to describe the behaviour of the news media, or to other groups that seek to increase awareness of a perceived injustice hue and cry means to protest and to discontent

See also


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