- David OrmerodDavid OrmerodLaw Commissioner for England and Wales, Professor of Criminal Justice, University College London, Barrister, Bencher of Middle Temple, Door Tenant at 18 Red Lion Chambers
- and Karl LairdKarl LairdFixed-term Fellow and Tutor in Law, St Hilda’s College, Oxford
Offences of strict liability are those crimes that do not require mens rea or even negligence as to one or more elements in the actus reus. Where an offence is interpreted to be one of strict liability, the accused will be criminally liable even if he could not have avoided the prescribed harm despite attempting to do so. Where someone is accused of strict liability, it is not necessary for the prosecution to tender evidence of mens rea as to the matter of strict liability. This chapter discusses strict liability and its distinction from ‘absolute’ liability, crimes of strict liability in common law and statutes, strict liability and the presumption of innocence, the presumption of mens rea, the severity of punishment for strict liability, arguments for and against strict liability, the imposition of liability for negligence, and statutory due diligence defences.