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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.

Chapter

Cover Complete Criminal Law

7. Defences of compulsion  

This chapter focuses on legal defences to criminal offences in England and Wales 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

Cover Criminal Law Directions

1. Introduction to criminal law  

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 begins by addressing the question: What is a crime? It then discusses the difference between criminal law, the law of tort, and contract law; the function of criminal law; sources of criminal law; the classification of offences; the criminal justice process; the hierarchy of the criminal courts; the burden and standard of proof; and the elements of an offence.

Chapter

Cover Complete Criminal Law

3. Mens rea: blameworthy states of mind  

This chapter focuses on mens rea (MR) and discusses some of the components of MR, which include intention, recklessness, negligence, and gross negligence. It explains that intention can be direct or oblique and that recklessness may be defined as the conscious taking of an unjustified risk. It also explains how to distinguish between negligence and gross negligence. The chapter examines the concept of strict liability in the context of criminal law and discusses the implications of strict liability for actus reus and MR, evaluating arguments for and against strict liability, and considering the treatment of strict liability under the European Convention.

Chapter

Cover Criminal Law Concentrate

15. Defences II  

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.