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

Reform Law

Extracts from this document...


Critically analyze present law on non-fatal offences. The first observation that can be made about non-fatal offences is that they are not completely codified. The separate offences of assault and battery remain common law offences, although their separate nature was confirmed in the Criminal Justice Act 1988, s.39. But the more serious offences - assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH), wounding and inflicting grievous bodily harm (GBH), and causing GBH with intent - are considered in the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. The 1861 Act, even at the time of its passing into law, was rightly described as 'a rag-bag of offences' by its own draftsman, and it is now over 140 years old, the criticisms are even more acute. The language used to describe the various sections is now archaic: grievous bodily harm, which simply means serious harm; and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, which most commonly means some kind of battery that causes real harm to a victim. ...read more.


In s.47 assault occasioning ABH the statue is entirely silent on the issue of mens rea and it has been left to judges to determine what that is. The cases of R v Savage and R v Parmenter now confirm that the mens rea of assault or battery - intention or subjective recklessness - is all that is required. In s.20 the word 'malicious' has been interpreted to mean 'intention or recklessness as to causing some harm' (R v Mowatt and R v Grimshaw). In the most serious section - s.18 - judges and academic lawyers have concluded that the same word is effectively redundant, except in the secondary mens rea, intent to resist arrest. A further obvious point of criticism is that this Act is now undergoing almost perpetual revision and rewriting by judges. This could almost be referred to as 'law-making by statutory interpretation'. The 2003 case of R v Mohammed Dica, which involved the conviction of the defendant for s.20 'biological' GBH after infecting two women with the HIV/AIDS virus, is another good example of the ability of senior courts to amend the law. ...read more.


This issue of constructive liability militates against the basic principle of criminal liability, known as the principle of correspondence: that the fault element (mens rea) should be related to the actus reus of the offence and to the possible consequences of being convicted of that offence. Finally, the 'hierarchy of sentencing' can be easily criticized. Both assault and battery have the same maximum sentence of 6 months. Section 47 ABH (which need only involve 'any hurt or injury which interferes with the health or comfort of the victim') has a far greater maximum sentence of 5 years. This is exactly the same as for s.20 wounding and inflicting GBH. These maximum sentences lack even a semblance of consistency or coherence. It is now evident that there is an unarguable case for complete codification of all non-fatal offences, but even the 1994 Law Commission recommendations for reform did not include the common law offences of assault and battery. Furthermore, although these recommendations have been accepted by all subsequent governments, no action has been taken to incorporate them in any of the major Criminal Justice Act passed since then. ...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

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

    European law

    4 star(s)

    In its subsequent case law, the ECJ went further and held that secondary legislation could also create directly effective rights, which individuals could rely upon in their national courts. This took place from the notion of Van Duyn v Home Office13 in which, Mrs Van Duyn, a Dutch national, was

  2. Marked by a teacher

    LAW REPORT on Macgregor(TM)s case

    4 star(s)

    The occupiers of the hotel have the physical control over the premises and they are potentially liable for the injuries caused to Beatrice. It is absolutely clear that everyone should take care for their own safety.

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Law and Fault

    4 star(s)

    For example in R v Gibbons and Proctor 1918 there was a relationship between the defendants and the victim, as they were supposed to be looking after the child who died from being starved to death by them. Similarly, in R v Pittwood 1902, there was a contractual duty for

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

    where there are reasonable grounds that stolen or prohibited articles may be found. One exception to this rule is that the power does not extend to people or vehicles on land used as a dwelling unless the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the person did not live in

  1. Law and Judicial creativity

    Similarly, in the case of Miss B, who was of sound mind and wanted her life-support machine to be switched off, the courts justified their decision of granting her the right to die by saying she was refusing her medication, an option open to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

  2. Before 2005 there were three main problems with the appointment procedures which is the ...

    The Minister cannot choose somebody who has not been recommended to him or her by the Commission. He or she is, however able to ask for a candidate who is not initially recommended by the Commission to be reconsidered, and can refuse the appointment recommend and ask for a new name to be put forward.

  1. Free essay

    Legal personnel

    The former regulator for solicitors (Solicitors Complaints Bureau) was controlled by the Law Society and therefore criticised for handling complaints inefficiently and slowly (in favour of the solicitors). However the Legal Complaints Service was introduced along with its new scheme of lay members who are not part of the Law society, (Elliot & Quinn, 2009).

  2. Family Law

    or mistake or was suffering from a mental disorder (Bennett v Benett) within the denotation of the Mental Health Act (1983) that would make them unfit for marriage. Voidable issues also included the issue of either party having a venereal disease at the time of marriage and lastly if the

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