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

Briefly explain the meaning of, and reasons for, strict liability as a criminal offence

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Briefly explain the meaning of, and reasons for, strict liability as a criminal offence (8 marks) Strict liability are offences which require no mens rea. A person can be guilty of the offence by just having the actus reus. This can seem unfair as one may not have the intention to commit the offence but just by having the conduct and consequence is sufficient. For example, in relation to speeding, it is sufficient if one can prove that they are above the speed limit, the intention of speeding is not required. As seen in the case of Larsonneur, the defendant didn't have the intention to return back to the UK, hence there was no mens rea; however, the act of being present in the UK was sufficient for a strict liability offence. Some examples of strict liability offences can include parking and speeding offences, selling unfit food for human consumption, health and safety at work regulations, trade description offences etc. Even though these offences may seem small, they are common as nearly 50% of strict liability cases are taken to court. ...read more.

Middle

is as a strict liability offence, it would have the effect to encourage people being more vigilant and knowing the difference between right and wrong. Difficulties arise when the legislation is unclear with regards to the mens rea. This is significantly the problem when the Act of Parliament does not include words which indicate the mens rea. However, they must assume that the mens rea is required especially in criminal offences as per the case of Sweet V Parsley. By having strict liability offences, it is designed to protect the public. For example, selling unfit food for human consumption would be considered as a harmful offence to others. Therefore, it is vital that big companies must employ lawyers to work alongside them to educate and ensure they do not carry any strict liability offences out. This is because, due to the amount of offences there are for strict liability, they can easily be breached as no mens rea is required. Also, if one does not know of their mistake, it would not be considered as reasonable in the eyes of the law. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, strict liability offences illustrate injustice. This is because it goes against the principle that criminal law punishes fault. By having the mens rea difficult to prove, this can be seen as morally doubtful. Even though liability is strict; it is not absolute as a defence maybe available. Defences such as duress; where one is being forced to commit an act, or automatism which is an act done by a person who is not conscious of what he is doing. The case of R V Kumar, illustrates that even though the offence was one of strict liability a defence was available. To conclude with, strict liability requires no mens rea, therefore they provide injustice. This has been seen in the case of Larsonneur and Winzar V Chief Constable of Kent. Also, because these are small offences, some may feel that they should plead guilty even though they are not blameworthy. This can also be seen as injustice as one didn't have the intention to commit it. This was illustrated in the case of Harrow London Borough Council V Shah. However, by having these sorts of offences, it saves court time as well as money. ...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)

Overall, a good attempt.

The conclusion could have been neater, however.

3 stars.

Marked by teacher Edward Smith 05/07/2013

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

    Rules of Causation Case. Jess throws paint in Sams eyes. Sam had to go ...

    5 star(s)

    This relates to the scenario because Sam's actions were expected and reasonable for the situation in which he was in.

  2. Marked by a teacher

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

    4 star(s)

    despite knowing he was violent towards her daughter before. (He had previously broken the daughters arm) The Partner killed the baby by slamming her head onto a hard surface. By going to work she had failed to take adequate steps to protect her daughter.

  1. Marked by a teacher

    With close reference to the cases of Shaw v DPP and Knuller v DPP ...

    3 star(s)

    Even if they may not be directly happy with the government?s final decision when they are discussing a matter of law and religion, many are at least happy with the idea of knowing that the law and religion discussion was done to work things out to the best of their interest in terms of religious freedom.

  2. Discuss the Criminal Liability of Dave for the murder of Edward

    intention, under Section 8 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967, the jury can infer indirect intention if they choose to do so.

  1. role of judges in civil cases

    Law Lords are appointed by the Queen after being nominated by the prime minister. The first woman judge to sit as a Law Lord was appointed in January 2004. When the new Supreme Court is established in 2009, judges will be selected according a Supreme Court selection commission.

  2. Describe the role of the House of Commons, The House of Lords and The ...

    the changes made by the committee and also gives another chance to think about further changes before the final stage- the Third Reading. Again the main role of the House of Lords is to thoroughly analyze the bill to make sure there are no problems regarding principles or with the wording.

  1. Critically evaluate the law on intention as part of mens rea

    This is not the case, for example death from a lightning strike is a natural consequence of a storm, but not very likely. This was found to be problematic in the case of Hancock and Shankland (1986) due to lack of reference to probability.

  2. The regulations on arrest and detention of offenders under the Police and Criminal Act ...

    After the riots had been stopped, the old ?sus? laws were eventually repealed which was one of the predominant reasons to the introduction of PACE. Despite the introduction of PACE in order to reduce the growing tension between the police force and the public, to reinstate confidence within the police

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