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Chapter

Cover Criminal Law Directions

16. Accessorial liability  

Without assuming prior legal knowledge, books in the Directions series introduce and guide readers through key points of law and legal debate. Questions, diagrams, and exercises help readers to engage fully with each subject and check their understanding as they progress. This chapter explores the law relating to accessorial liability or parties to crime. It discusses liability for aiding, abetting, counselling, or procuring the commission of an offence under the Accessories and Abettors Act 1861, the scope of accessorial liability after the decision in R v Jogee [2016] UKSC 8, the effect of withdrawing participation, liability for participation after the offence, protection of the victim, and recommended reforms to the law.

Chapter

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

2. Actus reus  

David Ormerod and John Child

This chapter provides an overview of actus reus, which refers to the ‘external elements’ of an offence. These external elements do not simply relate to D’s conduct. Rather, as we will see, the actus reus of an offence includes any offence elements outside the fault element (‘mens rea’) of the offence. Before discussing the elements that form the actus reus, this chapter considers the distinction between actus reus and mens rea. It then describes the three elements of actus reus: conduct, circumstances, and results. It also explains the categories of actus reus offences, omissions liability, and causation before concluding with sections that outline potential options for legal reform and a structure for analysing the actus reus of an offence when applying the law in a problem-type question. Relevant cases are highlighted throughout the chapter, with a brief summary of the main facts and judgments.

Chapter

Cover Criminal Law

2. Actus reus  

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. This chapter explains the concept of actus reus. It discusses the elements of crime, defining an actus reus, proving an actus reus, that conduct must be voluntary, state of affairs offences, omissions liability (situations in which a person will be liable for failing to act), causation (including the principles of factual and legal causation), and coincidence in time of actus reus and mens rea. ‘The law in context’ feature analyses critically English law’s approach to liability for causing another person’s suicide.

Chapter

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

2. Actus reus  

This chapter provides an overview of actus reus, which refers to the ‘external elements’ of an offence. These external elements do not simply relate to D’s conduct. Rather, as we will see, the actus reus of an offence includes any offence elements outside of the fault element (‘mens rea’) of the offence. Before discussing the elements that form the actus reus, this chapter considers the distinction between actus reus and mens rea. It then describes the three elements of actus reus: conduct, circumstances, and results. It also explains the categories of actus reus offences, omissions liability, and causation before concluding with sections that outline potential options for legal reform and a structure for analysing the actus reus of an offence when applying the law in a problem-type question. Relevant cases are highlighted throughout the chapter, with a brief summary of the main facts and judgment.

Chapter

Cover Criminal Law Concentrate

2. Actus reus  

Each Concentrate revision guide is packed with essential information, key cases, revision tips, exam Q&As, and more. Concentrates show you what to expect in a law exam, what examiners are looking for, and how to achieve extra marks. This chapter reviews the actus reus elements of criminal offence. The actus reus consists of prohibited conduct (acts or omissions), prohibited circumstances, and/or prohibited consequences (results). A person can be criminally liable for omissions at common law, but imposing this liability can be controversial. Causation is a key part of consequence/result crimes. The prosecution must prove that the result was caused by the defendant. In order to do this, the chain of causation must first be established, and then consideration must be given to any intervention which might break the chain.

Chapter

Cover Criminal Law Directions

2. Actus reus  

Without assuming prior legal knowledge, books in the Directions series introduce and guide readers through key points of law and legal debate. Questions, diagrams, and exercises help readers to engage fully with each subject and check their understanding as they progress. This chapter discusses the actus reus elements of a criminal offence. The actus reus of an offence may involve an act or omission (conduct crimes); certain consequences being caused (result crimes); or the existence of surrounding circumstances (‘state of affairs’ crimes); it must be voluntarily performed. There is generally no liability for an omission to act. There are five exceptions: special relationship, voluntary assumption of responsibility, supervening fault, contractual duty or public office, and statutory duty. Where the defendant is charged with a ‘result’ crime, the prosecution must prove causation. An intervening event will break the chain of causation and the actus reus will not be established.

Chapter

Cover Criminal Law

2. Actus Reus: The Conduct Element  

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.

Chapter

Cover Complete Criminal Law

2. Actus reus: the conduct element  

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

Book

Cover Ashworth's Principles of Criminal Law
Principles of Criminal Law takes a distinctly different approach to the study of criminal law, while still covering all of the vital topics found on criminal law courses. Uniquely theoretical, it seeks to elucidate the underlying principles and foundations of the criminal law, and aims to engage readers by analysing the law contextually. This tenth edition looks at issues such as the law’s history and criminal law values, alongside criminal conduct, actus reus, causation, and permissions; criminal capacity, mens rea, and fault, excusatory defences; homicide; non-fatal violations; property crimes; financial crimes; complicity; and inchoate offences. A special aim of the book is to bring an understanding of business activity—in particular small business activity—closer to the centre of the stage, in a discussion of the values protected by the criminal law and of the way in which the law shapes its principles, rules, and standards. A large proportion of criminal offences are drafted with the conduct of businesses, as well as individuals, in mind.

Chapter

Cover Smith, Hogan, and Ormerod's Criminal Law

7. Assistance after the offence  

David Ormerod and Karl Laird

This chapter examines the statutory offences under the Criminal Law Act 1967 of assisting an offender. Examples include hiding a principal offender, helping a principal offender to avoid arrest or to abscond from bail, lying to the police to protect the principal offender from investigation and prosecution, hiding the weapon used by the principal offender in committing the assault/robbery and washing clothes worn by the principal offender to obstruct any potential forensic examination. In addition to the fact that the offender must have committed a relevant offence, another element in the actus reus where an offender is charged with impeding the apprehension or prosecution of the offender is that the accused must have done ‘any act’ with the appropriate intent. An attempt to commit this offence does not amount to criminal liability.

Chapter

Cover Smith, Hogan, & Ormerod's Text, Cases, & Materials on Criminal Law

21. Assisting and encouraging: Serious Crime Act 2007, Part 2  

This chapter considers the ways in which criminal law applies to those responsible for assisting or encouraging crimes, i.e. the liability under the Serious Crime Act 2007. It examines the unduly complex drafting of the offences and their wide scope.

Chapter

Cover Smith, Hogan, & Ormerod's Text, Cases, & Materials on Criminal Law

19. Attempt  

This chapter examines the law of attempts. It considers the precise mens rea for attempt: whether in addition to intending any result required for the crime, D must also intend the circumstances of the substantive offence in order to be guilty of attempting it; how far D’s acts must go in committing the substantive offence before he will be guilty of an attempt; whether the law criminalizes D who attempts to commit an offence even though on the facts it would have been impossible for him to commit the substantive offence; and reasons as to why it is appropriate to criminalize attempts to commit crimes.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Criminal Law

Attorney-General’s Reference (No. 1 of 2022) [2020] EWCA Crim 1665, Court of Appeal  

Essential Cases: Criminal Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Attorney-General’s Reference (No. 1 of 2022) [2020] EWCA Crim 1665, Court of Appeal. The document also included supporting commentary from author Jonathan Herring.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Criminal Law

Attorney-General’s Reference (No. 1 of 2022) [2020] EWCA Crim 1665, Court of Appeal  

Essential Cases: Criminal Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Attorney-General’s Reference (No. 1 of 2022) [2020] EWCA Crim 1665, Court of Appeal. The document also included supporting commentary from author Jonathan Herring.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Criminal Law

Attorney-General’s Reference (No. 3 of 1994) [1998] AC 245, House of Lords  

Essential Cases: Criminal Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Attorney-General’s Reference (No. 3 of 1994) [1998] AC 245, House of Lords. The document also included supporting commentary from author Jonathan Herring.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Criminal Law

Attorney-General’s Reference (No. 3 of 1994) [1998] AC 245, House of Lords  

Essential Cases: Criminal Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Attorney-General’s Reference (No. 3 of 1994) [1998] AC 245, House of Lords. The document also included supporting commentary from author Jonathan Herring.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Criminal Law

B v Director of Public Prosecutions [2000] 2 AC 428, House of Lords  

Essential Cases: Criminal Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in B v Director of Public Prosecutions [2000] 2 AC 428, House of Lords. The document also included supporting commentary from author Jonathan Herring.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Criminal Law

B v Director of Public Prosecutions [2000] 2 AC 428, House of Lords  

Essential Cases: Criminal Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in B v Director of Public Prosecutions [2000] 2 AC 428, House of Lords. The document also included supporting commentary from author Jonathan Herring.

Chapter

Cover Criminal Law Concentrate

1. The basis of criminal liability  

Each Concentrate revision guide is packed with essential information, key cases, revision tips, exam Q&As, and more. Concentrates show you what to expect in a law exam, what examiners are looking for, and how to achieve extra marks. This chapter discusses what criminal liability is and is not about; the meaning of burden of proof; and the reform of criminal law. The study of criminal law is the study of liability. It is not about whether a person can be charged with a crime, or what sentence he may face if convicted, but rather it deals with whether a person is innocent or guilty of an offence (ie whether or not he can be convicted). The burden of proof means the requirement on a party to adduce sufficient evidence to persuade the fact-finder (the magistrates or the jury), to a standard set by law, that a particular fact is true.

Chapter

Cover Smith, Hogan, and Ormerod's Criminal Law

24. Blackmail and related offences  

David Ormerod and Karl Laird

This chapter deals with blackmail and related offences. The crime of blackmail involves making any unwarranted demand with menaces. Blackmail initially appears to have been coextensive with robbery and attempted robbery, but has since embraced more subtle methods of extortion. The law is currently set out in s 21 of the Theft Act 1968. This chapter considers unwarranted demand, the paradox of blackmail, the requirement of a view to gain or intent to cause loss, unlawful harassment of debtors and other offences based on threats including threats to kill, threats to damage property, threats of food terrorism, demanding payment for unsolicited goods with threats, robbery, assaults, threats of violence for the purpose of securing entry to premises and sending malicious communications.