Amended March 2011

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This course is based on one produced by the Western Australian Croquet Association. It has been modified by Croquet N.S.W. to meet its requirements.
It has been revised to match the changes to the laws adopted in 2008.

The object of this course is to help you learn the Laws and to explain difficult points.
Prospective referees are encouraged to sit with accredited referees to watch procedures and gain knowledge of refereeing games.
Knowledge of the laws is an important part of refereeing, but it is not the only part. Umpiring is just as important, and you must learn that on the lawn.

This course will be in sequence of Laws as listed and will not often refer to any law further on in the book.  In instances when "see law …" is stated in the Laws Book, we advise you not to do so in your first reading.

        Part 1  (Laws 1 to 7):  Deals with the court and its equipment and some definitions
        Part 2  (Laws 8 to 35):  Is virtually all the laws of ordinary level singles play, i.e., general laws of play.
        Part 3  (Laws 36 to 46):  Adapts certain laws in Part 2 to cover advanced, handicap and doubles play.  (Note :  the word "advanced" play is when lifts are given, and does not refer to standard of play.)
        Part 4  (Laws 47 to 55):  On the conduct of the game, tells how players should conduct themselves and their duties and rights.  These laws have no fixed penalties, but this does not mean there are no penalties, merely that they are applied under Law 55.
        The last sections are Appendices, Index and Regulations for Tournaments. However, new regulations for referees have recently been adopted. For the time being, they can found at the bottom of the home page at

You are not expected to know all the laws. No one does. But it is important to be able to find the law on any topic quickly. To help you, the law book has a detailed table of contents at the start, and an index near the end.
There are also many cross-references. You can skip most of them in your first reading; otherwise they will slow you down. Their real purpose is to help you during a game. If you can find one law on the matter in hand, the cross references will help you find others quickly.
Cross references come in two types. Those that begin with "See Law xxx" tell you where to find more information if you need it. Those that begin with "but see Law xxx" or "Subject to Law xxx" give exceptions to a general rule, and are more important. You must check them in a more detailed reading.

Another place where you can read about the laws is the O.R.L.C. Commentary, which you can find in the latter part of the O.R.L.C. site at
The O.R.L.C. was originally set up to show official rulings on the laws, but most of these rulings are too specialised for beginners. However the Commentary is an excellent guide to the laws and is written by someone who took part in the last revision of the laws.


Lesson 1.




Law 1 :  This is more than an outline of the game, because it contains material that you cannot find elsewhere, such as the meaning of the words "striker" and "entitled".


You have seen the court and equipment lots of times, but these laws tell the details.
Make sure you know the names of all parts of the court. Look up how many dimensions come in multiples of seven yards.
Before a tournament the Manager dresses the courts and the referee checks that all is in order before commencement of the games. (Sometimes no manager is present, and you should be prepared to do his work.)
Law 2(b)(4) tells you what tolerances you can accept. (You will find more tolerances in Appendix 1, but you need not bother with them unless you are buying equipment.)
The Peg is set in the centre of the lawn, so that lines joining hoops 1 and 3, 2 and 4 and 5 and 6 should pass through the peg.  The peg and hoops may be displaced up to 6 inches from their standard positions, providing the above conditions still apply.  The baulk lines must still terminate on a line extended through the centres of hoops 5 and 6.
In a tournament it is wise to check the hoop settings after each game.
Some items of equipment can be moved if they interfere with a stroke, namely the peg extension, clips, corner flags and corner pegs.

Balls:  Damaged balls may be replaced at any time during a game, but not necessarily the whole set, so long as balls of the same type are used.   Read the rules on temporary removal of a ball.

Mallets:  The end faces must be identical. Read the rules for replacing a mallet.

 If there is more than one boundary, which one is used?

There are five laws dealing with adjustment of misplaced equipment: Laws 2(b)(3), 2(b)(5), 3(a)(3), 3(b)(3) and 35(d). You are not expected to memorise the differences, but you should know where to find the right one.

Diagram 2 :  Note the places where the corner pegs and flags should be put. Note where the yard-line goes.



Definitions make more sense if you know why they are used.

 Law 4(a) tells when the clock is started
 Law 4(b) tells who has won
 Law 4(c): Once a game has ended, it is too late to claim an error or a replay.
 Law 4(d): In applying Laws 27(e) to (h), you need to know if a turn ending event has occurred.
 Law 4(e): If the adversary starts play before the previous turn has ended, he is playing when not entitled.


It is usually obvious when a stroke is played, but there are special cases. If the striker tries to hit the ball but misses, he has played a stroke. He can also play a ball by telling his opponent that he will leave it where it is.
If the striker starts his swing but deliberately interrupts it before he hits the ball or commits a fault, then he has not played a stroke.
If he accidentally hits a ball before the striking period starts, he has not played a stroke, the ball is replaced and he plays on.
If the striker plays a ball from another game, he has not played a stroke. So in a double banked game, if the player of blue hits green with his mallet, he has not played a stroke. However, if his mallet hits blue and the blue hits pink, he has played a stroke, but he has not made a roquet.

The striking period is the period during which a fault may be committed. You must be clear about when this period starts and ends when you are watching for a possible fault.
Most of the time, the striking period starts when movement of the mallet starts. However some players swing the mallet over the ball several times before they try to hit it. In such cases, the striking period starts when the mallet has passed the striker's ball in the last back swing.
The striking period ends when the striker quits his stance under control, but there is a special rule for faults listed under Laws 28(a)(1) to (3).


Law 6(a) A ball not in play is an outside agency. If it interferes with play, Law 33(b) applies.

Law 6(b) A ball that has come to rest will sometimes move again. As a general rule, it is replaced, but there are two exceptions. A ball in a critical position is deemed to have come to rest only when its position has apparently remained unchanged for at least 5 seconds.  If, in addition, its position needs to be tested, it is deemed to have come to rest only when its position has been agreed, or adjudicated upon.

Law 6(c) In ordinary speech, we sometimes talk of picking up a ball. The laws use the term "ball in hand" in such cases. A ball in hand is an outside agency.

Law 6(d): If a ball is in a critical position, special care must be taken if it has to be wiped or moved away from a damaged spot, or if its position needs checking. If possible, it should not be lifted in a double-banked game.
A ball in a critical position does not come to rest until the requirements of Law 6(b) are met.

Law 6(e): A dead ball cannot be roqueted.
If the striker purports to take croquet, the penalty and the limit of claims vary according to whether a live or dead ball is involved.
A ball becomes dead when croquet is taken from it, not when it is roqueted.
The words "live" and "dead" have meaning only for roquets and croquet strokes. A dead ball can score points by being peeled or pegged out, the same as a live ball.

Law 6(g): A rover ball can cause another rover ball to be pegged out.

Law 6(h): A group of balls is involved in the definition of a cannon in Law 19(b).


 7 If an outside agency interferes with the game, Law 33 or 34 applies.
The striker commits a fault if he rests the shaft of the mallet or a hand or arm on an outside agency within the time period described in Law 5(h).





At the start of a game the winner of the toss has the right of choice and may choose to play first or second, or to choose ball colours.  If he chooses to play second his opponent plays first, and also has choice of colours.  When a match consists of more than one game, the right of choice alternates after the first game.
In a doubles match, the first player of a side is allowed to play the ball his partner had said he would use. If he does so, the ball he played then becomes his ball for that game, and the partner uses the remaining colour of that side.


After all four balls have been played into the game, a player normally chooses which ball will be the striker's ball in a turn by actually playing it.
The exception is that he chooses the striker's ball if he lifts it under Law 13 or 36, but there are exceptions to this exception:
   1. If he lifts a ball by mistake when he is not entitled to, he has not elected that ball as his striker's ball.    2. A ball is not elected if he lifts it when it is already in contact with another ball.
Once the choice has been made, it cannot be changed in that turn, or the penalty for playing a wrong ball will apply.


A ball leaves the court as soon as any part of it would touch a straight edge raised vertically from the boundary (inside edge of thick marking lines).   
It is critical to watch exactly when a ball leaves the court, because if played at an oblique angle to the boundary it can be technically off the court quite a distance before it is seen to be completely out. This can make a difference if it may have to be placed in contact with another ball.
A ball, which leaves the court or overhangs the boundary and then rolls back in is still an outside agency. If it rolls back onto the court, any ball interfered with is replaced.


If a ball ends up in the yard line area, it is replaced on the yard line before the next stroke, except that there are special rules for the striker's ball.
If the striker's ball is entitled to take croquet, it is placed next to the roqueted ball. If not, any continuation stroke must be played from where the ball lies. This can happen after running a hoop or after a croquet stroke.


Balls must always be measured in with player's back to the court.
It is important to see that all balls, other than the striker's ball, are replaced onto the yard-line immediately after each stroke, as such a ball may interfere with the next stroke, or the outcome of later strokes could be affected.
If a ball off the court or within the yard-line area cannot be placed on the yard-line because of the presence of one or more balls, it is placed in contact with the ball already there on either side of it, at the striker's option.  If two balls are already there with very little space between, then the striker has the choice of placing his ball alongside either ball.
A ball that is already legally on the yard line must not be moved to make way for another ball.  If several balls have to be replaced close to the same position, the order in which they are replaced is at the striker's choice.


There are three pre-requisites for a player to claim a wired ball:
    The player can only ask for a wiring lift at the start of a turn.
    The referee must ask if the adversary is responsible for the position of the ball.
    The ball must be wired from each of the other balls on the court. If it is in the jaws of a hoop, it is assumed to be wired from all other balls, so long as it is not in contact with another ball.
If the striker's ball in contact with another ball the striker cannot claim a wiring lift.

The striker does not have to claim a lift. Instead he can play the ball from where it lies or he can play with his partner ball. He should not ask for a wiring test unless he intends to take a lift, but after the test has been made, he can still change his mind and play his partner ball.
The lift does not have to be taken at the first chance, but may be used at the start of another turn, provided that the ball still remains wired from all other balls, and the adversary is still responsible for its position.
A ball is not wired from a target ball that is partially hidden by another ball, if you would have a clear shot were the latter to be removed. In other words, a ball cannot be wired by another ball, only by a hoop or peg.

The striker is responsible for the position of a ball moved or shaken as a result of his play. This includes a ball moved in an error, whether the error is rectified or not. However he does not become responsible for the position of a ball moved in an interference.

When testing for a wiring remember that the striker must be able to roquet any part of the target ball (including both edges) in a direct course.  If the referee cannot determine if the balls are wired by eye test only, it often helps to use a trial ball alongside the hoop or peg, whichever is in question.  The line-of-sight test is best performed from a position as low as possible. If you have trouble getting down on the court, you can use a mirror.
A ball can be wired because of an impeded swing. This can happen if the striker is unable to strike the ball with any part of the end-face of the mallet, so as to send his ball toward any part of the target ball. Likewise if his normal back-swing is impeded, or if he cannot strike the ball before his mallet comes in contact with the hoop or peg. Note that the striker has no right to an unimpeded follow through.

Law 14 :  HOOP POINTS.

Note diagram 3:  running a hoop.

A ball starts to run a hoop when it breaks the plane of the non-playing side when traveling from the playing side.  (The planes of a hoop are the surfaces constructed by sliding a straight edge from the bottom to the top of the hoop.)  The ball completes the running of a hoop when it comes to rest where it cannot be touched by a similar straight edge on the playing side.  If the ball makes the hoop, but rolls back within the jaws, the hoop is not scored.  It is only the position in which a ball comes to rest that determines whether it has run its hoop.  If in doubt, check by using your gauge.

If a ball enters its hoop in order from the non-playing side, it cannot score a hoop point for itself in the same stroke.  It must come to a position clear of the hoop, or in the jaws where it does not break the plane of the non-playing side before it can score the hoop point. Even then it can only score the hoop in a later stroke.

If a ball has been roqueted into the jaws of a hoop and the striker's ball can be touched by a straight edge on the non-playing side when placed in contact with the roqueted ball, it cannot run the hoop from that position.  A piece of fishing line used on the non-playing side determines if the striker's ball has commenced running the hoop.  If the line touches the edge of the striker's ball in the hoop, it has commenced running and has to start running the hoop again in order to score its point.

    Meaning of Peeling: Peeling can occur in any type of stroke, not just a croquet stroke. The word does not include causing a ball to be pegged out. The definition is used in Law 43(c).

Law 15 :  PEG POINT.

A ball that has made rover hoop is called a "rover", and in a level play game can be pegged out, or cause another rover to be pegged out, either a partner or adversary ball.
A pegged out ball is removed from the game after it comes to rest. It is still in play until it comes to rest and so it may cause other balls to move and score hoop or peg points.    (Handicap play is covered further on in the course.)

If, at the start of a turn, a rover is left resting against the peg, the striker has the choice of pegging out the ball or hitting it away from the peg, in which case it is not pegged out.  A referee should be called to watch the stroke, if hitting away from the peg.  
When watching any peg-out, stand as close as possible, but do not cast a shadow on the ball, and watch carefully as sometimes the ball just grazes the peg or barely reaches it.



Law 16 :  ROQUET.

The laws distinguish between an actual roquet and a deemed roquet.

An actual roquet is made when the striker's ball contacts a live ball, and hits it either directly or indirectly by bouncing off a hoop, peg, or dead ball. If two live balls are hit in the one stroke, only the first ball hit is roqueted.  If it is seen that this situation may arise, and the referee is close enough to see, he should watch carefully and be prepared to name the roqueted ball. If two live balls are roqueted simultaneously the striker chooses which ball he roqueted by taking croquet from it.

A deemed roquet occurs when the striker's ball is found to be in contact with a live ball at the start of the stroke. This stroke must be played as a croquet stroke.

Group of balls. If the striker plays a ball that is a member of a group of balls, a cannon stroke is played. (The term "group of balls" is defined in Law 6(h).) It is no longer compulsory for one of the balls to be a yard-line ball.
If this happens at the start of a turn, it may happen that both balls belonging to the striker are members of the group. In that case, he elects which ball he wants to play by taking croquet from it and the balls are arranged accordingly.  Until he actually plays his stroke he may re-arrange the balls.  


This law confuses many people because they do not understand why it was made, and this involves a little history.
If the striker's ball runs its next hoop in order and then hits a ball that is well clear of the hoop, it is easy to see that it has scored the hoop point and then made a roquet. If the target ball is closer to the hoop, it may be impossible to see whether the striker's ball hit it before or after it passed through the hoop. So it was decided long ago that a hoop and roquet in the one stroke could be scored if the target ball was clear of the hoop on the non-playing side, because it is easy to make this test before the stroke is played.
The whole of the striker's ball does not have to pass through the hoop before it roquets a ball on the non-playing side, provided the target ball is clear of the hoop.  So the referee must check the position of a ball that is close to the hoop on the non-playing side to ensure whether the striker is entitled to hoop and roquet.  Remember also, that if the striker's ball finally comes to rest in the jaws of the hoop, even it has passed through and rolled back, the hoop has not been scored, although the roquet can be claimed if the ball was live.


A referee should watch when a rover ball is roqueted by another rover ball towards the peg, as should the first ball be roqueted onto the peg, it is pegged out and removed, therefore ending the striker's turn as he has no ball from which to take croquet.


When placing a ball for a croquet stroke, the striker must not move the roqueted ball, and when peeling must not change its rotational alignment.
When placing balls for a croquet stroke the striker's ball must be in contact with only one ball.  If two or more balls are in contact inside the court the striker's ball may be placed alongside the roqueted ball, as long as it is not in contact with another ball, and no other ball can be moved.
To steady the roqueted ball the striker may apply such pressure by hand or foot (but not by mallet), as is necessary to help hold its position.  If necessary, grass clippings may be used.


Once a ball is roqueted, the striker then takes croquet from it.  In playing the stroke the striker is said to take croquet.  It is a fault if the striker does not move or shake the croqueted ball, or does not hit into it.  If the croqueted ball goes out in that stroke, the turn ends unless the croqueted ball is pegged out. If the striker's ball goes out, the turn ends unless the striker's ball scores a hoop point or makes a roquet.


After the striker's ball scores a hoop point for itself, or after a croquet stroke, the striker is entitled to play a continuation stroke, unless his turn has ended. (For example the turn might end if he has committed a fault or pegged out a roqueted ball.)
If the striker takes croquet and runs a hoop in the same stroke, he gets only one continuation stroke.  He cannot accumulate continuation strokes.



An error is defined as a breach of Laws 25 to 28.  In other words, it is an error to play when not entitled, to play with a wrong ball, to play when a ball is displaced, or to commit a fault. There are special rules about errors; so it is important to realise that breaches of other laws are not errors.
A player must not deliberately commit an error, and must immediately declare any error he commits or suspects he commits.
Many errors are rectified. You will meet this word a lot. Read Law 22(d) carefully and make sure you know exactly what it means. Rectifying can involve up to three steps:
  1. All balls must be placed in their legal position at the start of the first stroke in error.
  2. Any points apparently scored since the start of the first error are cancelled.
  3. Each ball becomes live if and only if it was live at the start of the first stroke in error. (This does not apply if the turn ends.)
There are extra rules about replacing the striker's ball in a croquet stroke. As a rule, the striker may place it in any legal position where it may take croquet. There are two exceptions. If the error was a fault, the striker's ball must be replaced where it was. If the turn ends and the striker's ball is in the yard line area, it must be put on the yard line under Law 14.
The laws contain a "limit of claims" for each type of error. An error can be rectified only if it is discovered within the limit of claims. "Discovered" means discovered by either player. If an error is discovered after its limit of claims, all points scored are kept, with only two exceptions in Laws 22(f)(2) and 40(d).


The non-striker must request the striker to stop play if an error has been committed, or if the striker is about to play a questionable stroke without having it watched. There are several other reasons for forestalling, and they are listed in Law 23(c). The request must be in a manner that the striker can see, or hear with normal hearing.  The striker must then stop play until the matter has been settled.
However, the adversary must not forestall if he becomes aware that the striker is about to run a wrong hoop, play a wrong ball or purport to take croquet from a dead ball.


A compound error occurs when a player commits more than one error in the same stroke, or commits several errors in more than one stroke. Errors beyond their limit of claims are not considered.
When more than one error is committed in the same stroke, only the first of the applicable laws in Laws 25 to 28 applies.  An example is if a player of red roquets yellow, but takes croquet with yellow from blue.  He has played with the wrong ball (Law 26 ) and purported to take croquet (Law  27 (e).).  Law 26 applies because it appears before law 27.
If the errors occurred in different strokes, only the law applicable to the earlier error applies.
A special case occurs if Law 27 is applied and the striker has also committed a fault. The first error is rectified under Law 27, and the turn ends under Law 4(d)(7).


The word "entitled" is explained in Law 1(e).
An example of playing when not entitled is when the striker has run the wrong hoop and plays on.  If this is discovered before the first stroke of the adversary's next turn, the balls are replaced in the positions they occupied before the first stroke in error, the turn ends and no points are scored for any balls.  If the error is not discovered until after the first stroke of the adversary's next turn, the limit of claims has expired and any points scored are kept.
Another instance is if the out-player thinks his opponent's turn has ended and commences play. If this is discovered within the limit of claims, any balls he has moved are replaced and the player who is entitled to play carries on playing.
A special case occurs if two players play at the same time without realising what the other player is doing. (This does happen, believe it or not.) If the wrong player moves a ball and the correct player later moves the same ball in a stroke, it is not replaced.


If the striker plays a wrong ball and the error is discovered within the limit of claims, the error is rectified and the turn ends.
The limit of claims for this error is unusual. It is the first stroke of the next turn that is played with the correct ball. So if several turns are played with wrong balls, the limit of claims does not occur until a turn starts with the right ball.
If the player of the fourth turn of a game discovers that both his balls have already been played into the game the game is re-started.
If it is discovered after the first stroke of the fifth turn that every previous turn has started play with the wrong ball, the choice of balls is reversed and play is deemed to have proceeded from the start of the game accordingly.  This means that the sides play with the colours they hit in with, not the ones they originally chose.


This law has been rewritten since 2000 because many people had trouble with the former wording. There has been no intended change of meaning.
The term "purporting to take croquet" puzzles some people. The idea is that croquet may be taken only from a ball that has been roqueted. So if the striker places his ball next to some other ball and goes through the motions of taking croquet, he is said to purport to take croquet. If he does so, it makes a big difference whether he does so with a live or a dead ball. If it is a dead ball, the penalty is tougher and the limit of claims is longer. Remember that a ball becomes dead when croquet is taken from it, not when it is roqueted.

Laws 27(e) to (h) have the same remedies. The basic idea is that these errors do not in themselves cause the turn to end. However sometimes another turn ending event has occurred at the same time. For example in a Law 27(e) error, the croqueted ball may leave the court or a fault may be committed. If any turn ending event has occurred, the error is rectified and the turn ends. If there is no turn ending event, the error is still rectified but the striker plays on.
Other errors with the same remedy are failing to take croquet when required to do so, failing to play from a baulk line after taking a lift or in the first four strokes of the game and playing from baulk when not entitled to do so. In all these cases if the error is discovered after the limit of claims, play continues, as it is too late for rectification.

Law 27(c)(3) tells us that purporting to take croquet from a live ball has the same consequences as taking croquet from that ball, except that Law 27(e) applies. So the turn ends if you leave a still ball while purporting to take croquet. Likewise if a purported croqueted ball leaves the court.

There are many other cases. For example, in Law 4(d)(1) you find the words "In a stroke other than a croquet stroke ..." This really means "other than a croquet or purported croquet stroke".

You can read a more detailed account of Laws 27(e) to (h) at

Law 27(i) covers minor cases of playing with a ball displaced. This error is not rectified. The ball is replaced only if it was not affected by the stroke.



Law 28 :  FAULTS

.A fault can only occur during the striking period. See Laws 5(d) and 5(f) for when that is. Law 28(d)(2) says that the striking period ends earlier for faults under Laws 28(a)(1) to (3).
All the faults are listed in Law 28(a), but you must read Laws 28(c) and (d) as well to understand the meanings fully. So a double hit is not a fault if it is caused by a roquet or pegout or interference by a ball that has been pegged out.
You must learn the faults thoroughly because you will often be called to watch a stroke for a possible fault, and everything will happen fast.
Note that it is not a fault to kneel or lie on the ground. It is not a fault for the mallet to hit a hoop unless this causes a ball to move or shake. It is not a fault to break a hoop or peg.

If the striker commits a fault and it is discovered before two further strokes of the striker's turn, any points scored in either the first or second stroke in error are cancelled and the turn ends.
The striker must then ask the adversary whether he wants the fault to be rectified.
If the adversary chooses rectification, the balls are placed where they were before the fault occurred; otherwise play continues from where the balls lay after the first stroke in error.  
There are several special cases to remember:
  1. If the fault is only discovered after the striker has played another stroke, the balls cannot be left where they are. If the opponent does not choose to rectify, the balls must be replaced to where they were after the fault.
  2. If the striker has committed another error, then Law 24 sometimes requires the remedy for the other error to apply. If so the error must be rectified.



The laws distinguish between errors and interferences. For example
    An error is a breach of Laws 25 to 28. An interference is a breach of Laws 30 to 35.
    Many errors lead to end of turn. Interferences do not.
    A player becomes responsible for the position of a ball moved during an error, whether it is rectified or not. This is not true for most interferences.
   The rules for restoring bisques are different.


This law applies if it is discovered before the end of the game that play has been affected because a ball has been removed in the mistaken belief that it had been pegged out, or because it has not been removed when it had been pegged out. All play from, and including the first affected stroke, is deemed not to have occurred, points scored are cancelled, balls are replaced in their lawful positions before the first affected stroke and the player entitled to play at that time continues his turn without penalty.
The first affected stroke means the first stroke where play was affected. This need not be the first stroke after the interference.


This law applies if it is discovered before the end of the game that a player was misled into playing differently.
Only three types of misleading are considered:
   (1) if a clip was misplaced by someone else, or
   (2) if he is given false information on the state of the game by the adversary, or
   (3) if a ball is misplaced because of interference or has been moved to avoid interference.

The misled player may claim a replay. If he does, the balls and clips are  put back where they were when he adopted the different line of play. He must now adopt a different line of play.

Both players have a duty to make sure that all clips are correctly placed, and must call attention immediately to any misplaced clip.


A player must not continue playing after the adversary has forestalled him.  If he does, such further play is cancelled, the point at issue must be settled, and play continues.

Laws 30, 31 and 32 are the only laws when time is restored when an error is rectified.


If a ball is interfered with by a player or an outside agency, there are two possible remedies. Usually the affected balls are placed where they would otherwise have come to rest. If there is doubt where a ball would have gone, Law 48(f) gives guidance. After interference, a ball cannot score a point or take part in a roquet
The other possible remedy is to replay the stroke. This happens only if several conditions are met:
  A. The replay occurs before another stroke has been played, and
  B. The interference could have prevented a point being scored, a roquet being made or a ball coming to rest in a critical position. (Read Law 6(d) to see the meaning of "critical position",)
  C. The interference was caused by a moving outside agency or by the adversary.
A common outside agency is a ball from a double-banked game. If a player of one game thinks a ball from the other game could be in his line of play, he must ask a player from the other game if he may lift the ball.  It is the striker's responsibility to make sure there are no balls in his line of play. So a replay is possible only if the striker could not reasonably have foreseen the interference. He could not have foreseen it if the ball was moving after he took up his stance.

If a ball moves because of wind or other natural forces, it is replaced, but not if it has also been moved by a stroke. So if the wind blows a ball in the way of the striker's ball, and the two balls collide, a roquet occurs and play continues accordingly.


.If any fixed obstacle, such as a wall or fence close to the boundary interferes with the playing of a stroke, the striker may move his ball just enough to allow a normal stance and a normal swing of the mallet. The striker must also move any other ball(s) that could be affected by the next stroke so as to maintain their relative positions.  A ball in a critical position (near a hoop or the peg), should only be moved to avoid inequity.  Any balls so moved, which have not been affected by subsequent play, must be replaced to their original positions as soon as they are no longer relevant to the striker's line of play or, if earlier, when his turn ends.


If the striker quits the court wrongly believing his turn has ended and the mistake is discovered before the first stroke of the adversary's turn, the striker's turn has not ended and he resumes play.  If the adversary notices the mistake, he must inform the striker immediately.
If a ball strikes a clip on a hoop or peg, this is not interference with play and there is no remedy.  However, an unattached clip or peg extension, or a clip from another game is classed as an outside agency and Law 33 applies.





If a player has scored 1-back or 4-back with his own ball in the previous turn, his opponent has the option of lifting a ball and playing it from any point on either baulk-line.  He may do so, even if it is already in contact with another ball.
If the player scores 1-back and 4-back with his own ball in one turn, and his partner ball had not scored 1-back at the start of that turn, his opponent has the option of taking contact at the start of his next turn.  He does so by placing his ball in contact with any ball and taking croquet forthwith. He may do this, even if his ball is already in contact with one or more balls.
The above rules apply only if 1-back and 4-back are scored with the striker's ball. Peeling a ball through a hoop does not allow a lift to be claimed.
The striker is not entitled to a lift or contact if he has already pegged out a ball, (either his own or the adversary's), during the game.
If the striker is entitled to a lift or contact in any of the first four turns of the game, he may place his ball on either baulk-line, or take contact, as this law overrides Law 8(b).
Change of decision.  If the striker is entitled to a lift and lifts a ball of his side that is not in contact with another ball, he may not change his mind and play with his other ball.  (This is because the ball could not be returned to its original place accurately after he changed his mind.)  If the ball he elects to lift is in contact with another ball he may change his mind at any time until he actually plays a stroke.


Law 37 :  BISQUES.

A bisque is an extra turn in a handicap game that can only be played by the striker with his ball of the preceding turn. In a half-bisque turn, he cannot score a point for any ball, either his own or the adversary's, and even if it passes through a hoop in order that point is not scored.
Bisques or half bisques may be taken at the end of any turn - even the first turn - and may be taken in succession.
However, there is a restriction in time-limited games, under Regulation 15 (d).  After the bell rings, the in-player finishes his turn and the adversary has another turn.  A bisque or half  bisque cannot be taken at the end of either of these two  turns. If the score is level after this extension period, play continues and bisques and half bisques can be used at the end of any further turn.)
The player may change his mind after saying he will take a bisque, but may not change his mind after saying he will not take a bisque.  The adversary must not come onto the court until the striker has quit the court, or indicated that he is not going to take a bisque.
The number of bisques given by the lower-handicapped player to the higher player is the difference between their handicaps.   See Law 43(a) for doubles play, where the rule is different.
If a fault is committed by a player who is entitled to a bisque or half bisque, he does not have to make a choice until his opponent decides if he wants the error to be rectified.


The striker may not peg out the striker's ball in a stroke unless, before or during that stroke, the partner ball made rover, or an adversary's ball has been pegged out.  Remember that a rover ball can peg out another rover ball in any form of game.


If an error is rectified, some bisques may be restored. If the first stroke in error was the start of a bisque turn, the bisque is not restored, but any bisques taken after that stroke are restored.
There are special rules for when a game is restarted, or when points are cancelled because they were scored out of order.
If play is cancelled under Laws 30 to 32, any bisques taken in the cancelled period are restored.


Laws 40 to 43

Most of the laws for singles games still apply.
When the first player plays his first stroke, the ball he uses becomes his ball for the rest of the game.
A player may advise his partner, set up balls for a croquet stroke, and show him how to aim, but when the stroke is played, he must stand clear of any spot that may help his partner's aim.
A player may only peel his partner's ball through 4 hoops in a handicap game.  (Law 46(b) for shortened games is different.) Note that a peg-out does not count as a peel.
If one player is absent at the start of a doubles game, play can start without him. When it is his turn to play his first stroke under Law 8(b), his partner places his ball where he chooses on a baulk line and announces that he will leave the ball there.


Laws 44 to 46

You will not be examined on this section, but you should read it anyway..







A player is entitled to ask the adversary at any time for information on the state of the game, such as: which ball is he playing, which player is responsible for the position of a ball, whether it has been moved, etc.  The adversary must give the correct information; otherwise Law 31 may apply.  A referee can also be asked these questions, but if he is not in charge, he may not know the answer.  A referee in charge should know the state of the game at all times.
If you have to peg down a game, this law is a guide to the matters you should record.


The players are always referees of the game, and are sole referees  if no other referee is available.  The striker must immediately announce any error he suspects he may have committed, and the adversary must be consulted when any testing is required for hoops, wired balls, lifting balls for wiping, or moving balls because of imperfections on the court.  The player must give the adversary any information concerning the state of the game upon request.  
If the striker is about to play a questionable stroke, he must call the adversary or a referee to watch the stroke. A questionable stroke includes a long distance peg-out, an attempted roquet of a ball in a hoop, or a stroke that might result in a fault.
If the players differ on their decision, they may ask a witness, but only if they both agree to do so.  Either player may request that a referee (if available at the courts) adjudicate.


Players must not waste time before going onto the court at the end of the adversary's turn, and must play their strokes with reasonable despatch.   In doubles play partners should not waste time with long discussions. (It helps if they sit together.) In handicap play the striker must indicate promptly at the end of his turn whether he intends to take a bisque.  A player may ask for a wired ball test only at the beginning of a turn, never during a turn.


A player should not take advice from anyone except his partner in a doubles game.  If he does receive, or hear advice, he should not take unfair advantage of it, but he may use advice from his opponent under Law 51(a).
The striker may not make use of any written notes, or artificial aids, such as coins, to assist him in placing a ball for a stroke.  The striker must not use a marker inside or outside the court to help gauge the strength of a stroke, but may use a marker to mark the position of a ball that must be temporarily removed.  The striker may use his mallet (or that of his partner in doubles), as a marker only before the stroke is played.
A player's ball may not be used for testing a hoop, or rolled along the court to test the surface. Balls are used when testing for a wiring, but it is much better to use balls of a different colour.


The adversary must not interrupt, or interfere with the striker, except to forestall play in accordance with Law 23.  He must not remain on the court while the striker is playing, or move onto the court before the striker has finished playing.  In handicap play he must wait until the striker has indicated that he is not taking a bisque or half bisque.



Doubled-banked games are frequently played, and the players, balls, clips and mallets of one game are outside agencies with respect to the other game.  If a player strikes a ball from the other game, that is not classed as playing a wrong ball:  there is no penalty, the balls are replaced to their original positions and the striker continues, playing balls from his own game.
Precedence is usually given to the player who is making a break, to a player who is most likely to clear the area first, or to a player who will not require balls from the other game to be marked and moved.
If a ball is not in a critical position, it may be marked and temporarily lifted, but only after permission from a player from the other game.  If the ball is in a critical position, it is better for the player to wait until the ball has been played before continuing his turn.  
Players should be aware at all times of the state of play in the other game.   Law 33 (b) and (d) refers to interference with balls in doubled banked games, and how they are replaced.


In tournament games, all ordinary laws of croquet apply but there are some extra ones.
  The striker must call a referee or umpire before playing any questionable stroke or if any test has to be applied (for example whether a ball is out or whether it is through a hoop).
  In time-limited games, if neither side has pegged out both balls in the allotted time, the game is won by the side which has scored the most points.  (Further information on this subject is referred to in Regulation 15 :  Time Limits.)
  Time is not restored following discovery of an error, but time is restored if interference under Laws 30 to 32 is discovered before the end of the game.

Law 54 :  LOCAL LAWS.

This is self-explanatory.


Law 55(a) tells what to do in situations that do not seem to be provided for in the laws.

Laws 55(b) and (c) tell what to do if a player breaks a law for which no penalty is prescribed. In most cases a warning is enough, but heavy penalties are available for the rare cases of serious misconduct.


You will not be examined on these.

The INDEX is a valuable addition to the new Laws book and makes finding the laws much easier than in the past.  In this Law book the laws have been grouped together for ease of relating to various incidents in play.


The same laws for association croquet apply everywhere in the world, but each country is allowed to make its own regulations.  They include regulations for a variety of officials, including referees, managers, handicappers, and time keepers.

New international regulations for referees came into force in 2011. Regulations for other officials can still be found in your law book, but they apply to Australia only.

In addition, each state has local regulations. You should know the following ones, which apply in games under the control of Croquet N.S.W.:
   Fifteen minutes' grace is given to a player who is late for the first match of the day.
   A five-minute warm up is allowed before each game.

In your examination, you will be expected to know Regulations R1 to R7 (for referees and umpires), and 15 (for time keepers).
However you should read the other regulations, in case you ever become a manager or handicapper.
You should also look at Regulation 3(d). It tells you that croquet is subject to the same rules against doping as other sports. 


The referee of a tournament nominates referees to act in various categories.
No matter how well qualified a referee is, he has no authority unless he has been appointed by the tournament referee or his deputy.
If a player wants to appeal a decision given by the officiating referee he can appeal to the Tournament Referee or his deputy, but he must do so within the time limit of Regulation R6(d) and only on matters listed in R6(a).
There can be no appeal against a decision on fact, which includes anything the officiating referee has seen, or believes he has seen.

TYPES OF REFEREES: There are now only two types of referee: supervising referees and referees on request. 
A supervising referee has wide powers to see that the game is played in accordance with the laws.
A referee on request does not intervene except under conditions that are laid down in the regulations. 


A supervising referee may look after one or more games. If he looks after only one, he is called a "referee in charge". He must draw attention to any breach of the laws that he sees, and see that the proper remedy is applied. A referee in charge should see most misplays if he is alert, but a referee supervising several games cannot see everything, but does the best that he can.
He should be prepared to go out on the court without any requests from the players to watch a questionable stroke. Even so, the striker must still draw attention to any error he thinks he has committed, and the adversary must still forestall if he sees a breach of the laws that the referee has missed.


This type of referee does not usually intervene unless a player asks him to watch a stroke or rule on an event that has already occurred.
There are only three cases where he may intervene without being asked:
  1. When one of the players has discovered an error or interference, a referee on request should see that play is lawfully continued, but even then he must not intervene if the players can manage by themselves.
  2. When he hears a player giving wrong information about the laws, he should correct the mistake.
  3. When he sees a breach of Law 38, he should intervene without delay.

Sometimes a referee on request will see an error that neither player has noticed. If so he must keep quiet about it, even if he is called to watch the game for some other reason. (This most often happens when the striker is playing a wrong ball and neither player notices, but it can happen with any error.) If a referee on request is then called to watch for a possible fault, he must say nothing about the wrong ball. However there are exceptions and special cases; so read Regulation R4 carefully.


The new regulations do not use the word "umpire" because it has a different meaning in different countries. In practice, everything said about referees includes Australian umpires, but especially the second sentence of R2(a)(1).


If an event is classed as unlimited time, the Tournament or Venue Manager may impose a time limit of one hour on any game that has been in progress for at least 2 hours.  The referees should be informed of the imposition of time.
When time limited games are played the players should arrange for an independent person or themselves, to be responsible for announcing audibly that the time has been reached. A referee sometimes performs this task, but in some parts of Australia this is not allowed. To determine when the striker's turn ends when time is called, it is deemed that his turn ends as soon as his mallet hits his ball in the final stroke of his turn, and the adversary's turn then commences.  If scores are level at the end of the extension period, play continues until the next point is scored for either side, and that side is the winner.
Use of bisques.  No bisque or half bisque may be played during the extension period. Therefore, the player in play at the end of the extension period cannot immediately take a bisque or half bisque.  It is not until the end of the next turn that any remaining bisques or half bisques may be used.  The "extension period" is the period immediately after time is called and extends until each player has completed his turn after time was called.  If scores are level when players have completed all strokes to which they are entitled in the extension period, play continues until one more point is scored for any ball.  When play continues after the end of the extension period, any half-bisque or bisque may then be taken.


Either during this referees course, or before taking the exam, you will have to attend a workshop, to learn umpiring.
Before you sit the exam you will be given the exam papers to study beforehand.
Referees exams are not written.  There is one section of practical situations on the court, without reference to the laws book.
There is another section, indoors, where you are asked questions to be answered orally, also without the laws book.
The last section with your laws book, you are asked to find certain laws, which refer to the questions asked.
The full examination should take about 3 hours, with a break after the session on the court.