Criminal Law

General Defences [2] Insanity and Automatism

By the end of this unit, you should be able to (AO1):

  • Understand the definitions of insanity and automatism, and their interpretation by the courts.
  • Explain the relationship between insanity and automatism
  • Explain the more recent developments in the law under the Criminal Procedure (Insanity and Unfitness to Plead) Act 1991 and Domestic Crime, Violence and Victims Act 2004

You should also be able to evaluate (AO2):

  • Whether the current law on insanity and automatism addresses the mentally disordered offender adequately.
  • The differences between automatism and insanity, and whether they are justified.
  • The various proposals for reform (there are a lot of them!)

So, let’s start with ‘can you tell the difference’? Intro scenarios (insanity and automatism) Who should be able to plead and why? Remember that this defence cannot be looked at in isolation from the other mental condition defences…

Now, the handout and then the reforms. Now, for these we have the recent report from the Law Commission, which is worth a look (although in my opinion they have completely copped out in their conclusions… and a discussion paper to drag things out?! Really?!) Anyway, a more succinct compilation is available here for you to consider: InsaneHWkResearch2014 and for automatism, the other halves are here… Automatism Scan (mix’n’match)

 

General Defences [1] Duress and Necessity

By the end of this unit you will be able to (AO1):

  • Explain the scope of the defence of duress
  • Understand what is meant by the term “duress of circumstances”, and its relationship to the defence of necessity
  • Explain the law surrounding self-induced or voluntary duress

You will also be able to (AO2):

  • Discuss the importance of public policy in the development of the defences
  • Evaluate the limits of the defences’ availability
  • Discuss whether necessity exists in the common law.

So, the handout really contains everything that you will need [Duress] and the dominoes for checking your understanding are here… Dominoes for Starter (duress) in addition, the plan for the end of unit essay (remember you only have 2 hours to type it in class) is here, Duress Essay Plan and finally, the PowerPoint is below:

 

 

Involuntary Manslaughter

By the end of this unit, you will be able to (AO1):

  • Describe what is meant by the term “involuntary manslaughter” and why we impose liability for D in that situation.
  • Explain the key elements of gross negligence, constructive act and reckless manslaughter, and their interpretation by the courts.
  • Explore how the three types overlap and where ‘reckless act’ fits into involuntary manslaughter.

You will also be able to evaluate (AO2):

  • The development of the law in relation to the concept of dangerous act in constructive act manslaughter
  • Whether the offences should exist at all!
  • The extent to which the Law Commission proposals reflect a more appropriate move forwards in the law.

Involuntary Mtr Case Cards to help complete the notes in the handout on gross negligence and the handout itself is available here; Invol Mtr, and the PowerPoint is here:

I cannot attach the notes on reform as they are in the form of a very useful article from the Law Review, which is easily available in the library.

 

Voluntary Manslaughter [2] Diminished Responsibility

By the end of this unit you will be able to [AO1]:

  • Define the key elements of the partial defence of diminished responsibility, and illustrate them with relevant case[s].
  • Understand the states of mind which may governed by this partial defence.
  • Explain how the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 has altered the partial defence of diminished responsibility.

You will also be able to evaluate [AO2]:

  • The current law on diminished responsibility and possible recommendations for reform from the Law Commission
  • Whether the recent changes to the law have improved the law on diminished responsibility
  • The reasons for having diminished responsibility as a partial defence.

So, again this is a recently reformed area. But this was only really a modification of the current law, so quite a few of the old cases are pertinant, but again the new ones are easily accessed via the glory of bailii.org if you need.

Handout is here: DR 2014, and to check you have understood everything… the mix and match cards are available here: DR Cases Cards and the PowerPoint below…

Voluntary Manslaughter [1] Loss of Control

By the end of this unit you will be able to describe (AO1):

  • The elements of the partial defence under s.54-55 Coroners and Justice Act 2009
  • The changes made to the previous law on provocation
  • Why the loss of control defence should exist as a partial defence to murder.
  • The recent comments made by the Court of Appeal on the law of loss of control.

You will also be able to evaluate (AO2):

  • The need for the current changes, and whether the Law Commission’s proposals were a better option
  • The issues arising from the current law, and the need for further reform and clarification in this area.
  • The importance of the recent decision in Clinton on the issue of sexual infidelity as provocation.

Well, the first thing to say is that this is such a new area that there are only a few new cases to know, so that should make you all happy. Just be aware that thanks to the amount of adjectives and adverbs in the sections, it’s likely this won’t last forever! Any of the recent cases you want to look at in more detail are available on bailii.org

Back to normal. The handout is here LoC, and the PowerPoint is below.

 

In addition, the notes on the old law of provocation are below. I know, these may appear outdated,  but for AO2 purposes (do the changes really work?) you need to know what they are, and the introductory handout is here: Provocation (Intro sheet) and the supporting PowerPoint is below…

Finally, to check you really have got it straight, have a look at this section C questions from January 2012 and see how you get on. Section C [LoC Jan 2013]

 

Murder

By the end of this unit, you will be able to (AO1):

  • Explain what is meant by ‘murder’ in the criminal law
  • Understand the limitations of Lord Coke’s definition

You will also be able to (AO2):

  • Evaluate whether the current meaning of ‘malice aforethought’ is justified in the law
  • Critically explore the recent changes to the law on murder and manslaughter
  • Apply your understanding of the rules on murder to a series of scenarios, allowing you to conclude on D’s liability.

The handout for the topic is available here: Murder. And that’s really all there is to it… although the recap (just in case!) is here: Gap filling murder

Attempts

By the end of this topic you will be able to (AO1):

  • Explain what is meant by an ‘attempt’ and the reasons why we criminalise this behaviour.
  • Understand the problems surrounding the actus reus of attempts
  • Explain the mens rea of attempts
  • Explain whether it is possible to be liable for ‘attempting to do the impossible’.

You will also be able to evaluate (AO2):

  • The current law of attempts and how it relates to the substantive crimes.
  • Proposals for the future of attempts.
  • The principles behind the criminalisation of attempts
  • How we judge whether acts are “more than merely preparatory”

A nice little topic to start us off this term! Now remember. these are the really daft ones… the ones who could not even complete a proper offence!! Anyway, let’s keep it short and sharp. The handout is here: Attempts and the PowerPoint is below:

 Mens Rea

By the end of this unit you should be able to (AO1):

  • Explain what is meant by ‘direct’ and ‘oblique’ intent in the law
  • Describe the development of the law on oblique intent, and impact of s.8 and Nedrick on it.
  • Understand what is meant be ‘coincidence’ and ‘transferred malice’ in the criminal law, and the scope of these doctrines.

You should also be able to (AO2):

  • Evaluate the development of the law on oblique intent, and consider whether the test is too narrow.
  • Critically explore the scope of transferred malice.
  • Discuss whether the courts have stretched the doctrine of coincidence too far with the concepts of series of acts and continuing act.

So, the handout is here: Mens Rea and the mix and match cards for the cases are here: Intention cards , and just to make sure you’ve really got it all, the revision sheet on oblique is intent is here: Oblique intent consolidation Sadly, the triangles aren’t anywhere as they’re not compatible :(. Oh well. And last, but by no means least, is the glory of the powerpoint!

Causation

By the end of this unit, you should be able to (AO1)

  • Explain what is meant by causation, and its link to establishing D’s liability.
  • Understand how causation is established in the law, and what might affect it.
  • Describe what is meant by the thin skull rule.

You should also be able to evaluate (AO2):

  • The current approach of the courts to breaks in the chain, and how fair this approach may be to D

So, the usual then? The handout is here: Causation, and the glory of the powerpoint (it should be self expanatory!) is below:

… and the second essay plan is here (PLAGARISM) and the end of unit revision is detailed below…

Actus Reus & Omissions

By the end of this unit, you should be able to (AO1):

  • Understand the general rules on actus reus
  • Explain the exceptions to these rules (absolute liabilty and omissions)
  • Describe what is meant by an omission and when it may attract criminal liability.

You should also be able to evaluate (AO2):

  • The development of the duty situations in omissions by the courts
  • The moral basis for the development of liabilty for omissions
  • Whether there should be any liability for absolute offences.

The handout for the unit is here: AR and the sheets for evaluating the effectiveness of omissions is available here: Omissions critical response sheets , Your first set of A2 Omissions dominoes are Dominoes for Starter (Omissions) and your end of unit essay plan is also available here: Omissions Essay Plan, with the feedback to check here: Omission Fback Essay Sheet

Finally… the PowerPoint slides are below:

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