• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Actus reus

Extracts from this document...


'Law should encourage citizens in their civil duty to "do the right thing" in a moral sense and not turn a blind eye or fail to act to help someone who is in need.' Consider to what extent the criminal law relating to commission reflects this view. Omission is when the defendant does nothing to prevent the victim's death. In certain circumstances, D may be under a duty to take positive steps to assist V, and if D fails to take those steps then he can be liable for murder or manslaughter. If D is liable for V's death, he must be under a duty to act in the circumstances, otherwise he will escape liability. This was shown in Khan and Khan, in this case D escaped liability as there was no imposition of duty of care. Duty of care can be owed in a variety of situations. One of these situations is when duty arises out of contractual liability; where failure to fulfil a contract is likely to endanger lives, the criminal law will impose a duty to act. ...read more.


S and D were liable for manslaughter convictions as they had assumed a duty of care for V, and their feeble efforts to look after her amounted to gross negligence. Duty of care can also arise out of the creation of dangerous situation. Where D creates a dangerous situation then, on becoming aware of it, he is under a duty to take steps to prevent or minimise the harm. If he fails to take such steps then he will be criminally liable for the end result. This situation arose in Miller, here D was liable for the damaged caused as he took no steps to prevent the fire from spreading. The Good Samaritan law enforced in France states that if someone is seen in a dangerous situation, you must help them, unless the situation will jeopardize your own life. D can be released from a duty that had been voluntarily undertaken or had one imposed on him, this was shown in Smith, where V had stopped D from calling a doctor when she had given birth. ...read more.


However there are some serious moral and practical objections to this view. One of the objections is that it is difficult to decide the definition of when it would be easy for D to attempt a rescue. Another objection is the forcing of citizens to watch out for and protect each other, even though citizens pay for highly trained professionals to do the job. Also D can misjudge the difficulty of the situation and can put himself at risk. The criminal law in France and USA encourages citizens to do the right thing by enforcing the Good Samaritan law. In the UK there is no such law and a person must only help another if there is imposition of a duty to care. If there is no imposition of duty of care, then D is not required to help V, this was shown in Khan and Khan. However there is a reform suggested but it should not be enforced as citizens already pay tax to be protected from highly trained professionals. ?? ?? ?? ?? Adrees Khan ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Criminal Law section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

The essay contains a generally accurate outline of the cases relating to when an omission in criminal law can bring about liability. However, it should question whether the law should be changed, and whether the cases were correctly decided has received limited coverage.***

Marked by teacher Nick Price 04/10/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Criminal Law essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    English law does not normally impose liability for an omission or failure to act ...

    4 star(s)

    This is when the defendant is guilty of wilfully and without reasonable excuse neglecting to perform his duty. A case to outline this category of omission is R v Dytham 1979, A police officer from St.Helens, witnessed the death of a night clubber out side Cindy?s nightclub but took no

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Is the current law on the non-fatal offences against the person satisfactory?

    4 star(s)

    A higher level of mens rea would be necessary than for the current legislation, where the defendant need only foresee some harm in order to be convicted of GBH (Mowatt), and he need not foresee the consequences required for the actus reus of the offence of ABH (Roberts).

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Critical evaluation of murder for A2 law unit 4

    3 star(s)

    This leads me in to my next point which is connected to the first. What is intention, and how do you prove the difference between the intention to kill and the intention to do GBH? The courts find it difficult trying to find out what is meant by intention, for

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Reform of the law on murder.The law commission say it is rickety structure set ...

    3 star(s)

    for an offence to be murder, the defendant must have intent however, for oblique intent it is implied intent which isn't, in my opinion, a good enough definition for it to be classed as murder. There should either be a clear distinction between oblique intent and manslaughter or the oblique intent shouldn't exist.

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Law should encourage citizens in their civic duty to do 'the right thing' in ...

    3 star(s)

    Similarly, if someone voluntarily undertakes a duty to care for someone, then their omission can be the actus reus of a crime.

  2. Human Trafficking In Australia. This essay will be covering different aspect of human ...

    It is a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. The ICC was established as a court of last resort to prosecute the most heinous offenses in cases where national courts fail to act.

  1. List and explain the six most important cases for the law on insanity, explaining ...

    In the case of Clarke (1972), the defendant went into a supermarket, picked up three items including a jar of mincemeat, and put them into her own bag. She left the store without paying for them, and was charged with theft.

  2. Explain the meaning of Actus reus and mens rea

    wounds ? these were operating on the V when he died, A defendant may wish to argue a novus actus interveniens i.e claim that there was another act which caused the outcome such as medical negligence, unforeseen events and the thin skull rule.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work