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Ashworth's Principles of Criminal Law

Ashworth's Principles of Criminal Law (10th edn)

Jeremy Horder
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date: 19 June 2024

p. 1716. Criminal Capacity, Mens Rea, and Faultlocked

p. 1716. Criminal Capacity, Mens Rea, and Faultlocked

  • Jeremy HorderJeremy HorderProfessor of Criminal Law, London School of Economics and Political Science


This chapter deals first with another fundamental requirement of a crime: criminal capacity. It is a precondition of criminal liability that the defendant is a person with sufficient capacity to be held responsible. This leads to an examination of infancy and insanity as barriers to criminal responsibility, and then to a consideration of special factors affecting corporate criminal liability. Second, this chapter considers fault requirements as an element of criminal offences. It explores some of the reasons for and against the criminal law requiring proof of fault in any form. It also considers principal varieties of fault requirement in the criminal law, such as intention and recklessness.

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