- 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.