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

Criminal liability is generally based on fault with the prosecution having to prove both actus reus and mens rea. Some criminal offences are crimes of strict liability. Briefly explain the meaning of these 3 terms.

Extracts from this document...


Criminal liability is generally based on fault with the prosecution having to prove both actus reus and mens rea. Some criminal offences are crimes of strict liability. Briefly explain the meaning of these 3 terms. The actus reus is the physical element of a crime. The phrase itself is loosely translated as `the guilty act'. The actus reus however does not always have to be some one committing an act it could also be the failure to act (an omission). The actus reus of a crime may also be committed when a prohibited state of affairs exists. In some crimes it is also necessary to show more than an act or failure to act. What you also need to show is that specific consequences of an act occurred before the actus reus is proven. An example of the actus for a state of affairs which is when a defendant may commit the actus reus simply by being in a particular place when this state of affairs has been declared to be wrong - Larsonnneur (1993) and Winzar v Chief constable of Kent (1983) ...read more.


Where there is a duty to act under a contract - R v Pittwood (1902) 2. Where a duty exists because there is a special relationship between the parties - R v Gibbins and Proctor (1918) 3. Where a duty exists because the defendant has voluntarily accepted responsibility for another - R v Stone and Dobinson (1977) 4. Where the defendant has caused a dangerous situation and he has failed to put it right - R v Miller (1983) 5. Where a duty exists because of a persons public office - R v Dytham (1979) However in the case of a doctor if he failed to give medical treatment if the discontinuance of the treatment is in the patients best interest he will not have committed the actus reus. The mens rea is the mental element of a crime and if it is literally translated then it means guilty mind. The mens rea has got nothing to do with motive. Each crime will have an individual mens rea. In statutory offences the mens rea is often defined by words such as maliciously, intentionally, recklessly and wilfully. ...read more.


However R v G (2003) the house of lords decided that Cunningham recklessness will be used for all criminal offences. Gross negligence is the necessary mens rea for manslaughter as used in the case of R v Adomako. Strict liability is when a crime can be committed and then some one can be convicted without proof of mens rea. An example of this is Larsonneur (1933) where the defendant had no mens rea when committing the offence of `being an alien to whom leave to land in the UK had been refused.' She did not mean to commit this offence but had been brought to the UK against her will. Strict liability offences are in place to protect something or some one. Some examples of these are to protect the public from unfit food or protect children from buying teenagers and been taken in by gambling. They are used for thing such as the regulation of road traffic. It is left to the courts to decide if an offence is one of strict liability. To decide if a case is one of strict liability it must be decided if the case is truly criminal or regulatory and if it is then regulatory this then means it is strict liability. ...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 Law of Tort section.

Found what you're looking for?

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

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 Law of Tort essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Discuss the extent to which discrimination is prohibited under English and Welsh law (25 ...

    5 star(s)

    the uniform rules in a physical sense the number of Sikhs who could comply was significantly smaller than the number of non-Sikhs, therefore the schools rule could not be justified due to disproportionate impact. Other than the Race Relations Act there are a number of criminal offences linked to racial discrimination e.g.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Taking selected areas of the civil and or criminal law, evaluate whether sportsmen and ...

    4 star(s)

    owe a duty of care to other participants and may be liable in negligence for conduct to which another participant may be expected not to have consented'. In this case the player's conduct and actions fell below the standards of care reasonably expected of those taking part in the game,

  1. Examine the arguments for and against strict liability illustrating your answer with example of ...

    alien to whom leave to land in the Uk has been refused", according to the Aliens Act 1920 an offence regarded by statute to be one of strict liability the mens rea was not needed. Common law offences of strict liability are very minimal as courts have mainly disapproved of

  2. Discuss the meaning of fault on the basis for criminal liability. Explain and evaluate ...

    The defendant must possess the actus reus and mens rea of the crime they committed. The actus reus must be voluntary and the mens rea is generally required. With regards to the actus reus, the defendant must be in control of her/his actions.

  1. Using actual situations, describe the elements of actus reus and mens rea in criminal ...

    The defendant was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm as the victim had been reduced to a mental state which, in itself, amounted to actual bodily harm (the extent of his injuries were disputed). The actus reus in assault occasioning actual bodily harm has two elements: assault (causing the other person to fear immediate unlawful force)

  2. Non-fatal Offences Against the Person.

    s47 assault occasioning ABH requires that for the actus reus there needs to be some physical harm to the skin, flesh or bones and also psychiatric harm. (R V CHAN-FOOK). The mens rea is needed only for the assault itself.

  1. That wrongdoers should be liable for their own actions is a fundamental principle on ...

    As Mr Warren was an agency worker, Luminar Leisure sought to evade responsibility, however he was still held liable as Mr Warren would be recognized by the public as working for Luminar Leisure and Luminar did not have to use an agency to supply door staff, but did so as they wanted to avoid certain aspects of employment law.

  2. In this report, the differences between contractual liability and tortuous liability are explained. In ...

    Cases may be appealed to the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) and can be appealed from the County Court to the High Court. The House of Lords is the supreme court of appeal with its judicial functions separate from its legislative work.

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