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Chapter

This chapter explains the justifications of self-defence, the prevention of crime, and other ‘public or private defences’, the justification of self-help, and the excuses of duress by threats and duress of circumstances. It also examines when necessity can provide a justification for otherwise criminal conduct and whether a defendant can be excused through superior orders.

Chapter

This chapter focuses on defences. The following controversies are examined: whether the fact of childhood constitutes a defence; the extent to which duress can negate criminal liability; whether necessity ought to be a defence; whether recent legislative developments have rendered self-defence unduly complex; and the distinction between justifications and excuses and whether these classifications have any practical import.

Chapter

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 examines the defences of consent; self-defence (which includes using reasonable force in the defence of oneself, defence of others, of property, and the prevention of crime); and duress (which consists of being compelled to commit a crime to avoid death or serious harm in a situation of immediacy where there is no route of escape). Duress is an excusatory defence; consent and self-defence are justificatory defences. If the defence of necessity does exist separately to the defence of duress, it is a justificatory defence.

Chapter

This chapter examines the issue of complicity. ‘Complicity’ arises when two or more people agree to commit an offence which is then committed by one of more of them, or when a person plays a supporting role in the commission of an offence. The discussions cover the distinction between principals (those who commit the crime itself) and accessories (those who assist or encourage its commission). The discussion involves addressing complex questions about the conduct element in complicity, the fault element in complicity, joint ventures, and accessorial liability for different results. Also covered are derivative liability, the ‘missing link’, and special defences to complicity.

Chapter

This chapter focuses on the magistrates’ courts. It discusses the importance of the magistracy and the work that they do; the involvement (and funding) of lawyers in summary justice; major pre-trial decisions such as bail and whether a case can be dealt with in the magistrates’ court or is so serious that it needs to be sent to the Crown court (mode of trial/allocation); how magistrates and their legal advisors measure up to the crime control/due process models of criminal justice; and the future of summary justice (including the impact of managerialist and ‘victim rights’ reforms and trends that encourage dealing with much lower court business away from the courtroom itself).

Chapter

This chapter focuses on legal defences to criminal offences in Great Britain that will result in acquittal, which include duress and duress of circumstances, necessity, compulsion, public and private defence, and mistaken belief. These defences can be divided into justifications and excuses, and most of them consist of subjective and objective elements. The chapter explains the general principles of these excusatory and justificatory defences, and evaluates proposed reforms of criminal law covering these types of defence. It also provides examples of relevant cases and analyses the bases of court decisions in each of them.

Chapter

This chapter focuses on the magistrates' courts. It discusses the importance of the magistracy; the involvement (and funding) of lawyers in summary justice; significant pre-trial decisions (including bail and mode of trial); how magistrates and their advisers measure up to the crime control/due process models of criminal justice; and the future of summary justice (including the impact of managerialist and ‘victim rights’ reforms).

Chapter

This chapter addresses one of the more contentious issues in international criminal law: the extent to which a defendant should be able to plead that there are circumstances excusing or justifying what will invariably be appalling crimes. It first notes that while the distinction between justifications and excuses is known in a number of national legal systems, it is of no direct relevance to international criminal law. It then discusses the following defences before international criminal tribunals: mental incapacity, intoxication, self-defence, duress and necessity, mistake of fact and law, and superior orders. It also considers two defences which arise under the law of war crimes: reprisals and ‘tu quoque’, and military necessity.

Chapter

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 examines the defences of age, insanity, automatism, intoxication, and mistake. If D is under the age of ten, he is deemed incapable of criminal liability. Insanity is where D proves he had a disease of mind which caused a defect of reason so that D did not know the nature and quality of his act or that it was wrong. Non-insane automatism is an assertion by D that the prosecution cannot prove the actus reus of the offence because D was not in control of his muscular movements. Intoxication rarely succeeds as a defence. Involuntary intoxication is a defence if D does not form mens rea. Voluntary intoxication is a defence only if D is charged with a specific intent crime and D did not form mens rea. Mistake is a defence provided the mistake prevents D forming mens rea.

Chapter

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 following general defences: infancy, insanity, automatism, intoxication (involuntary and voluntary), and mistake. Children under 10 are conclusively presumed incapable of committing a criminal offence. Insanity (insane automatism) is concerned with the defendant’s mental condition at the time of the offence. Automatism is available where the defendant suffers a total loss of control or is unaware of what he is doing. Involuntary intoxication may be a defence to any offence if the defendant does not have the mens rea for that offence. Voluntary intoxication is no defence to a basic intent offence. A mistake as to civil law may negate the mens rea of an offence.

Chapter

This chapter discusses homicide offences. It covers in detail murder, defences to murder, and involuntary manslaughter. However, these traditional topics no longer cover the whole ground, as Parliament has created a number of new homicide offences in recent years. Accordingly, attention is paid to causing or allowing the death of a child or vulnerable adult, and causing death by driving. It concludes with a review of the structure of the law of homicide: is the current structure adequate, with murder at the top, and then manslaughter of different kinds beneath that, together with a hotchpotch of specialized homicide offences with varying degrees of gravity?

Chapter

This chapter discusses ‘excusatory’ defences. These are defences that are concerned with absence of fault or culpability in a broader sense than is understood by a ‘fault element’ when such an element is included in the definition of an offence. Even when an accused person (say) intended to harm another person, and thus possessed the fault element in the definition of the crime, he or she may still be all but blameless if, for example, what was done was done only because he or she would be killed if the action was not undertaken. In that regard, the chapter covers duress and coercion, reasonable mistake, and ‘putative’ defences. The ‘defence’ of intoxication is also tackled here, even though it is not really an excuse in the sense just explained.

Chapter

This chapter examines the use of incapacity and mental condition defences for criminal offences in Great Britain. It discusses the general principles of the excusatory defence of insanity and automatism as distinct from diminished responsibility and explores the notion that insanity is out of date and unrelated to contemporary classifications of mental illness. It considers whether insanity can be pleaded for all crimes. The chapter explains that intoxication is often not considered a valid defence although it may negate mens rea and provide partial defence to crimes of specific intent. It explains and clarifies the Majewski rule and how it works. It also considers intoxicated mistake. The chapter evaluates arguments for and against the age of criminal responsibility and analyses court decisions in relevant cases.

Chapter

John Child and David Ormerod

This book focuses on substantive criminal law, that is, how offences such as theft and murder are defined. This introductory chapter sets in context criminal offences and defences, first by considering the basis upon which certain conduct is criminalised and other conduct is not. It then outlines the reasons why people commit crimes, which types of people commit them, and whether certain groups are over-represented in criminal statistics. It also discusses the role of evidence in assessing how well criminal offences can be proved in practice; the punishments for committing crimes; the difference between criminal and civil law; the process and procedure to obtain a criminal conviction; sources of the substantive criminal law; the internal structure of offences and defences; principles of the substantive criminal law and the subjects to which it applies; legal reform; and the application of the current law.

Book

This book focuses on substantive criminal law, that is, how offences such as theft and murder are defined. This introductory chapter sets in context criminal offences and defences, first by considering the basis upon which certain conduct is criminalised and other conduct is not. It then outlines the reasons why people commit crimes, which types of people commit them, and whether certain groups are over-represented in criminal statistics. It also discusses the role of evidence in assessing how well criminal offences can be proved in practice; the punishments for committing crimes; the difference between criminal and civil law; the process and procedure to obtain a criminal conviction; sources of the substantive criminal law; the internal structure of offences and defences; principles of the substantive criminal law and the subjects to which it applies; legal reform; and the application of the current law.

Chapter

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

This chapter examines categories of manslaughter in which the defendant killed with the mens rea for murder, but qualified for one of the partial defences which reduced his crime to one of voluntary manslaughter. These defences are: loss of control, diminished responsibility, and suicide pacts and assisted suicide.

Chapter

This chapter discusses the law on offences involving intoxication. It distinguishes between voluntary and involuntary intoxication, and between ‘specific’ and ‘basic’ intent. Cases are presented to show that state of mind is both a necessary element in the definition of an offence as well as in some defences. Just as intoxication may cause a person to lack the mens rea of an offence so it may cause him to have the necessary mental element of a defence.

Chapter

This book focuses on substantive criminal law, that is, how offences such as theft and murder are defined. This introductory chapter sets in context criminal offences and defences, first by considering the basis upon which certain conduct is criminalised and other conduct is not. In continuing to set the context, the chapter goes on to consider criminal justice and criminology; criminal evidence; criminal process (including the court structure and central actors); sentencing; civil law protections; and so on. Narrowing to our focus on substantive criminal law—how offences and defences are defined—the chapter moves on to discuss the sources of criminal law; the internal structure of offences and defences; principles of the substantive criminal law; and the subjects to which it applies. Finally, the chapter introduces features on reform and legal application.

Chapter

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 murder, arguably the most serious crime in English law. Murder is where D kills V, and D intends to kill or intends to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH). The most common criticism of the offence of murder is that the sentence is mandatory irrespective of whether the mens rea is the more serious form (intent to kill) or the less serious form (intent to cause GBH). There were three partial defences to murder under the Homicide Act 1957 (diminished responsibility, provocation, and suicide pact). There are three partial defences to murder under the Homicide Act 1957 as amended and the Coroners and Justice Act 2009; diminished responsibility, loss of self-control, and suicide pact. The chapter considers the first two in detail. These are partial defences because they result in a conviction for manslaughter rather than a full acquittal.