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Smith, Hogan, and Ormerod's Essentials of Criminal Law

Smith, Hogan, and Ormerod's Essentials of Criminal Law (4th edn)

John Child and David Ormerod
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date: 26 March 2023

p. 1304. Interaction of actus reus and mens realocked

p. 1304. Interaction of actus reus and mens realocked

  • John ChildJohn ChildReader in Criminal Law, Birmingham Law School, Co-Director of the Birmingham Centre for Crime, Justice and Policing, Co-Director of the Criminal Law Reform Now Network
  •  and David OrmerodDavid OrmerodProfessor of Criminal Justice, University College London, Deputy High Court Judge, Barrister, Bencher of Middle Temple, Door Tenant at Red Lion Chambers


This chapter focuses on the interaction between actus reus and mens rea in proving criminal liability. It first considers how actus reus and mens rea relate to one another within the structure of an offence before discussing the issues that also emerge when applying offence requirements to a set of facts. As an example, it explains how every element (conduct, circumstance, and result) of an offence includes an actus reus requirement and a potential corresponding mens rea requirement. It also examines the correspondence principle and the doctrine of transferred malice, along with the coincidence principle. Finally, it outlines potential options for legal reform and a structure for analysing the actus reus and mens rea of an offence when applying the law in problem-type questions. Relevant cases are highlighted throughout the chapter, with brief summaries of the main facts and judgments.

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