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Chapter

Cover The Criminal Process

3. Ethics, conflicts, and conduct  

Chapter 2 sketched a normative model of the criminal process in which the pursuit of a particular end—retributive justice—was constituted and constrained by respect for rights and other values. This chapter examines one way in which the demands of this rather abstract model can be put into practice: through the consideration of ethics. It begins with a brief discussion of the idea of ethical conduct. It then outlines some unethical practices, and is followed by attempts to examine and reconstruct some possible justifications for such practices. Next, it looks at the problems of displacing the occupational cultures and other influences which may lead to resistance against change. It goes on to discuss formal accountability systems and concludes with a consideration of the prospects for bringing about changes in the conduct of practitioners within the system.

Chapter

Cover Ashworth's Principles of Criminal Law

5. Criminal Conduct: Actus Reus, Causation, and Permissions  

This chapter focuses on the ‘general part’ of the criminal law—the rules and principles of the criminal law whose importance and application can be analysed and debated without necessarily referring to a specific crime. It first examines the limits of the notion of involuntary conduct. It then looks at various challenges to the ‘voluntary act’ requirement—where is the act if the law criminalizes the occurrence of a state of affairs, or mere possession? Next, it considers how the voluntary act requirement relates to crimes of omission. This is followed by discussions of causation and the circumstances in which conduct may be recognized as justifiable.

Chapter

Cover Cassese's International Criminal Law

12. Justifications and excuses  

Antonio Cassese, Paola Gaeta, Laurel Baig, Mary Fan, Christopher Gosnell, and Alex Whiting

This chapter discusses the notions of justifications and excuse. Circumstances can sometimes arise that either justify criminal conduct, or excuse the perpetrator for engaging in it. A justification is a circumstance that makes the accused’s conduct preferable to even worse alternatives. Among the circumstances that negate unlawfulness of what would otherwise be a criminal act are: self-defence; necessity (as justification); and belligerent reprisals (for war crimes). An excuse, such as duress, involves an action that, while voluntary, nevertheless was produced by an impairment of a person’s autonomy to such a degree as to negate their blameworthiness. Mistakes of law, mental incapacity, or intoxication are also usually categorized as excuses, although strictly speaking, these are cognitive impairments that preclude the formation of a guilty mental state in the first place.

Chapter

Cover Criminal Law

1. Criminal law in context  

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 introductory chapter answers the following questions: What is a crime? What purpose or function does the criminal law serve? What reasons are there for the criminalisation of some types of conduct? What are the purposes of punishment? What are the political and social contexts in which criminal law operates? The chapter provides an overview of key aspects of the criminal process, including mode of trial, the decision to prosecute, the burden and standard of proof, the functions of judge and jury, and sentencing. It also examines briefly the impact of the European Convention on Human Rights on English law.

Chapter

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

3. Mens rea  

David Ormerod and John Child

This chapter provides an overview of mens rea, loosely translated as ‘guilty mind’. Whereas the concept of actus reus focuses on the external elements of an offence, mens rea focuses on state of mind or fault. The mens rea of the offence describes the fault element with which D acted: D intended, believed, foresaw as a risk the proscribed element(s), and so on. The chapter first considers how offences differ in the role mens rea plays. For some offences, a mens rea element may be required in relation to each actus reus element; for other offences there are actus reus elements that do not have a corresponding mens rea and vice versa. The chapter moves on to discuss the legal meaning of central mens rea terms such as ‘intention’, ‘negligence’, ‘dishonesty’, and ‘recklessness’. Finally, it outlines reform debates, and a structure for analysing the mens rea of an offence when applying the law in a problem-type question. Relevant cases are highlighted throughout the chapter.

Chapter

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

4. Interaction of actus reus and mens rea  

David Ormerod and John Child

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.

Chapter

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

5. Murder  

David Ormerod and John Child

This chapter focuses on the offence of murder within the context of criminal law, with particular emphasis on its problematic and controversial nature. It first considers the definition of murder in terms of actus reus and mens rea. It then discusses the defences to murder, including general defences, specific complete defences, and partial defences (e.g. loss of self-control, diminished responsibility, and suicide pact). It also outlines potential options for legal reform concerning the mandatory life sentence and the mens rea of murder, and concludes by presenting a structure for applying the actus reus and mens rea for murder to problem facts. Relevant cases are highlighted throughout the chapter, and there are also boxes that highlight common pitfalls to avoid and other areas of confusion for those new to the law.

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

3. Mens rea  

This chapter provides an overview of mens rea, loosely translated as ‘guilty mind’. Whereas the concept of actus reus focusses on the external elements of an offence, mens rea focusses on state of mind or fault. The mens rea of the offence describes the fault element with which D acted: D intended, believed, foresaw as a risk of the proscribed element; and so on. The chapter first considers how offences differ in the role mens rea plays. For some offences a mens rea element may be required in relation to each actus reus element; for other offences there are actus reus elements that do not have a corresponding mens rea and vice versa. The chapter moves on to discuss the legal meaning of central mens rea terms such as ‘intention’, ‘negligence’, ‘dishonesty’, and ‘recklessness’. Finally, it outlines reform debates, and a structure for analysing the mens rea of an offence when applying the law in a problem-type question. Relevant cases are highlighted throughout the chapter.

Chapter

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

4. Interaction of actus reus and mens rea  

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.

Chapter

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

5. Murder  

This chapter focuses on the offence of murder within the context of criminal law, with particular emphasis on its problematic and controversial nature. It first considers the definition of murder in terms of actus reus and mens rea. It then discusses the defences to murder, including general defences, specific complete defences, and partial defences (eg loss of self-control, diminished responsibility, and suicide pact). It also outlines potential options for legal reform concerning the mandatory life sentence and the mens rea of murder, and concludes by presenting a structure for applying the actus reus and mens rea for murder to problem facts. Relevant cases are highlighted throughout the chapter, and there are also boxes that highlight common pitfalls to avoid and other areas of confusion for those new to the law.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Public Law

Privacy International and others v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and others [2021] EWCA Civ 330, Court of Appeal (also known as the Third Direction case)  

Essential Cases: Public Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Privacy International and others v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and others [2021] EWCA Civ 330, Court of Appeal. The case (also known as the Third Direction case) concerned whether the security service (MI5) was able to authorize its agents to commit criminality in the course of their work, and whether such authorization could grant immunity to said agents from criminal prosecution. The case has, in substance, been superseded by the passage of the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act 2021, but it nonetheless raises more fundamental questions about the relationship between the rule of law and national security. The document also includes supporting commentary and questions from author, Thomas Webb.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Public Law

Privacy International and others v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and others [2021] EWCA Civ 330, Court of Appeal (also known as the Third Direction case)  

Essential Cases: Public Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Privacy International and others v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and others [2021] EWCA Civ 330, Court of Appeal. The case (also known as the Third Direction case) concerned whether the security service (MI5) was able to authorize its agents to commit criminality in the course of their work, and whether such authorization could grant immunity to said agents from criminal prosecution. The case has, in substance, been superseded by the passage of the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act 2021, but it nonetheless raises more fundamental questions about the relationship between the rule of law and national security. The document also includes supporting commentary and questions from the author, Thomas Webb.

Chapter

Cover Steiner & Woods EU Law

23. Free movement of persons: limitations on grounds of public policy, public security or public health  

This chapter examines the European Union (EU) law concerning the free movement of persons and the limitations of this right on grounds of public health, public security, or public policy, including the ‘rule of reason’ and expulsion, refusal of entry or an entry ban due to criminal offences or other personal conduct. It analyses the relationship between the Citizens’ Rights Directive (CRD) (Directive 2004/38/EC) and its relationship with Treaty provisions. It considers the substantive scope of the derogation provisions and the procedural guarantees in the CRD applicable to EU citizens and their family members facing expulsion, refusal of entry or entry bans.

Chapter

Cover Immigration & Asylum Law

15. Deportation  

Gina Clayton, Georgina Firth, Caroline Sawyer, and Rowena Moffatt

This chapter gives a brief history of the power of deportation. It then discusses in some detail the application of the ground that the deportation is conducive to the public good. This includes discussion of so-called automatic deportation under the UK Borders Act 2007, and of national security cases. The chapter also covers the Immigration Act 2014 provisions relating to deportation.