Emoji and emoticons are becoming increasingly prevalent in criminal law cases around the world, although some judicial officers currently have no experience of them or of interpreting them. This article offers an in-depth examination of the area of emoji and emoticons in criminal law. It provides an overview of emoticons and emoji, including their history, their global popularity of use in modern communication, and their particular interpretative difficulties. It canvasses and analyzes international criminal cases involving emoji and emoticons. It provides a valuable table that lists each such case in which emoji and emoticons are present. In reviewing the existing international case law, this article identifies the handful of cases in which judicial officers have attempted to interpret emoji and emoticons in the criminal law context. However, it also demonstrates the absence of clear guidance on methods of interpreting emoji and emoticons. Most importantly, this article aims to assist filling this void by proffering important recommendations regarding interpreting emoji and emoticons in the criminal law context.

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