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

Law and Fault

Extracts from this document...


With reference to decided cases in any area(s) of law with which you are familiar, consider to what extent English law is concerned with the concept of fault in deciding issues of liability or guilt (30) In English civil and criminal law, liability is based on fault. Fault is therefore perhaps one of the most important concepts in law, as without it, it would be impossible for justice to be reached for the state, victim and wrongdoer. Fault determines the way the state will compensate the victim and punish the wrongdoer, and this essay will focus on the latter. The whole aim of criminal law is to punish those who have committed a crime against the state. The sanction imposed considers the sentencing aim and attempts to reflect society's revulsion at the crime. Fault is present if the appropriate actus reus and mens rea can be proved. A person cannot be found guilty unless both elements were present. The actus reus concerns all elements of the offence apart from the defendant's state of mind. This not only includes the prohibited physical act but also any omissions and causation issues. The actus reus must be committed voluntarily, as Professor Hart stated 'the principle that punishment should be restricted to those who have voluntarily broken the law ... is a requirement of justice'. ...read more.


It can be asked then, if the victims in this case would have suffered their horrific situations 'but for' the actions of the courts. The answer is most likely to be 'no' and going by this, the courts are at fault. Obviously, they will not be punished and it can be argued that it is the courts themselves that have brought about many miscarriages of justice and do not face any sanction for it. However, from causation in law perspective, where the defendant's actions must be a significant contribution to the outcome, there must be no intervening act, and if there is the defendant will escape liability. Looking at the same case, the courts would not be a fault as Titley's actions would have been enough to break the chain of causation. This highlights the fact that a defendant found to be at fault in factual causation could escape liability in the legal causation. It could be argued that if the law was so concerned with the concept of fault, there would not be any contradictions in it policies. Although it is the law that for fault to be found the actus reus and mens rea must be present, there is an exception to the rule where strict liability cases are concerned. Strict liability refers to cases where it is not necessary to have the mens rea to commit a crime. ...read more.


However, the law has since developed and provocation now recognises 'battered woman's syndrome' and the slow burn effect it may cause. If this is the case, then surely a defendant in such a situation cannot face the full wrath of 'fault' when much of what surrounded the killing was not out of their choice. Even though the actus reus and mens rea in this case, and also similar cases of R v Duffy 1949 and R v Thornton 1992, were present, the law's introduction of a Domestic Violence Bill is perhaps confirmation that the concept of fault can only be appropriately applied when the full circumstances are looked at. This signifies the importance of defences, as it is here that the law can decide whether or not a person is to blame for their actions and to what extent it was their fault that the actus reus and mens rea were present. To conclude, English law is concerned with the concept of law to the fullest extent, as this is the only way justice can be achieved. Fault is not as difficult to prove as one would expect with the several areas of actus reus and mens rea that exist. The introduction of defences may mean that those at fault could escape liability, but ultimately these are safeguards for those who deserve their circumstances to be taken into consideration, and as justice is the whole aim of English law, this is only fair. ...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 Legal personnel 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

4 star(s)

A good essay. The student would benefit from having read some of the academic commentary on the issue of fault, and by broadening the focus beyond criminal law.
4 Stars.

Marked by teacher Edward Smith 18/07/2013

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 Legal personnel essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    LAW REPORT on Macgregor(TM)s case

    4 star(s)

    Given this authority it may be that the exclusion clause at the front desk of MacGregor's hotel is found to have been incorporated into the contract because it was displayed at the point of contract formation. Further information is requested as to the clarity and prominence of the notice.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    European law

    4 star(s)

    In the light of these difficulties, the ECJ developed through its case law ways in which individuals could more effectively enforce Community law rights. This was done by creating the doctrines of supremacy and direct effect. The doctrine of direct effect provides that provisions of EU law may be invoked

  1. Marked by a teacher

    What is the role of the jury in criminal and civil cases

    3 star(s)

    Up until 1990 when the Services Act was introduced, the Court of Appeal had no power to correct awards which were thought too high, but since the act was introduced, are now allowed to either order a new trial or substitute the sum to how it would appear proper to

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Evaluate the extent to which judges are representative of society.

    3 star(s)

    Another group in society which is underrepresented, is that of ethnic minorities. The first ever High Court judge, Linda Dobbs, was appointed in 2004, but despite such improvements the current situation is still worrying, especially since the findings in the Macpherson Report.

  1. Evaluate police powers of arrest, detention and search.

    The 2005 reforms were an element of what Tony Blair described as his government's "war on crime"4, a policy which he portrayed as battling the emphasis on the interests of those accused or suspected of crimes with more on the victims of crime and ordinary "law-abiding-citizens".5 The Home Office had

  2. The task of the jury is to weigh up the evidence presented to them ...

    The use of jurors has been reduced in the recent years. Governments have attempted to reduce the use of juries in criminal cases in order to save money. The Criminal Law Act 1977 removed the right to jury trial in a significant number of offences by making minor criminal offences case summary only.

  1. Outline the main purpose and roles of two contrasting Uniformed Public Services.

    outbreaks of public disorder and are called away from their regular duties to deal with such major disturbances. Serious disturbance are relatively unusual events and controls measures are often pre-planned in response to intelligence that is gathered in advance. 4.

  2. Report on hierachy of courts and legal personnel.

    justice act 1969, although the appeal must involve a point of law of general public importance for the appeal to be accepted, if

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