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Complete Criminal LawText, Cases, and Materials

Complete Criminal Law: Text, Cases, and Materials (7th edn)

Janet Loveless, Mischa Allen, and Caroline Derry
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date: 01 December 2023

p. 292. Actus reus: acts, omissions and causationlocked

p. 292. Actus reus: acts, omissions and causationlocked

  • Janet Loveless, Janet LovelessFormer Senior Lecturer in Law, London Metropolitan University
  • Mischa AllenMischa AllenAssociate Lecturer in Law, The Open University
  •  and Caroline DerryCaroline DerryLecturer in Law, The Open University


A crime consists of conduct (actus reus or AR) and a mental element (mens rea or MR). This chapter focuses on actus reus (AR), the external elements of a criminal offence. It discusses the key components of AR. These key components are omissions or the liability for failing to act and causation, which represents the connection between the conduct and the result of an act. The chapter explains that AR must be proved, must be voluntary and can also include a mental element. It also considers several examples of cases relevant to AR and analyses the bases of the court decisions.

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