Open any Victorian newspaper and you would be sure to encounter such headlines as “Extraordinary Breach of Promise of Marriage Case,” “The ‘First’ Man of the Tichborne Jury,” or “Holmes v. Holmes & Yeats.” Victorian culture was awash with law. We have seen in the our discussions of politics and gender that major legal reforms changed people’s lives, giving middle-class and then workingclass men the vote, married women the ability to own property, and children access to state-provided education. The legal system was a pervasive shaper of Victorian society in more quotidian ways as well, three of which we will focus on here. First, the creation of the first police forces, changes in criminal law, and the replacement of public hangings with prison sentences put crime and punishment at the forefront of public consciousness. Second, credit and debt relations bound people to one another and meant that many Victorians found themselves in court for debt. Finally, the legal system provided Victorians with the gossip, scandals, and causes célèbres through high-profile court cases. In all these ways legal processes surrounded Victorians, so that, in the words of historian Margot Finn, “familiarity with the law was pervasive, not exceptional, in English society.”1 This chapter begins by introducing the legal system and the biggest changes to it during the Victorian era. It then looks at three key areas of life for which legal venues, structures and narratives were central: crime, debt, and scandal.