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Criminal LawText, Cases, and Materials

Criminal Law: Text, Cases, and Materials (10th edn)

Jonathan Herring
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date: 02 December 2023

p. 652. Actus Reus: The Conduct Elementlocked

p. 652. Actus Reus: The Conduct Elementlocked

  • Jonathan HerringJonathan HerringProfessor of Law, Exeter College, Oxford


The actus reus is a central aspect of criminal law that defines the harm done to the victim and the wrong performed by the defendant. In many cases this involves proof that the defendant caused a particular result. A defendant will be held to have caused a result if but for their actions the result would not have occurred and there has been no intervening act of a third party. This chapter begins by distinguishing the component elements of a crime. It then discusses the voluntary act ‘requirement’; causation; classification of offences; the need for a voluntary act; omissions; and seeking a coherent approach to causation.

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