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Criminal Law

Criminal Law (16th edn)

Michael Allen and Ian Edwards
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date: 17 July 2024

p. 1515. Capacity and incapacitating conditionslocked

p. 1515. Capacity and incapacitating conditionslocked

  • Michael J. Allen
  •  and Ian Edwards


Course-focused and contextual, Criminal Law provides a succinct overview of the key areas on the law curriculum balanced with thought-provoking contextual discussion. A person should only be held criminally liable where he has the capacity to understand his actions, and to recognise the consequences which may flow from them; and, having understood them, where he has the capacity to control them. The criminal law recognises the requirement of rational capacity by excepting persons who lack rational capacity from liability in certain circumstances. This chapter examines the issues of the age of criminal responsibility, insanity and the M’Naghten Rules (including analysis of the meaning of a ‘disease of the mind’ and the cognitive tests for determining whether someone is legally insane), automatism, and intoxication (with analysis of the distinction between offences of specific intent and basic intent). A revised and updated ‘The law in context’ feature explores the treatment of mentally disordered defendants and offenders in the criminal justice system.

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