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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.