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

The rules and principles of causation not only provide fair practical solutions to the problems of criminal liability but also are founded on sound moral principles. Discuss this statement.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"The rules and principles of causation not only provide fair practical solutions to the problems of criminal liability but also are founded on sound moral principles." Discuss this statement. When deciding whether a defendant is guilty of an offence the court will look to see if the defendant was the cause of the consequence. The three aspects the prosecution must prove are; that the defendant was the factual cause, the legal cause and that there were no intervening acts which broke the chain of causation. In order to establish whether the defendant's actions were the factual cause, the court will decide whether the consequence would not have happened but for the defendant's conduct. This is referred to as the 'but for' test and was used in R V Pagett 1983 to show that the defendant's girlfriend would not have died but for the fact he held her hostage as a human shield against police gunfire. The 'but for' test can also prove a defendant not guilty of a criminal offence, such as the case of R V White. ...read more.

Middle

When establishing legal causation the court may employ the 'thin skull rule'. This rule states that if the victim has something unusual about their physical or mental state which makes an injury more serious, then the defendant will be liable for the more serious injury. In R V Blaue the defendant stabbed the victim, and as a result the victim needed a blood transfusion, but refused it as it went against their beliefs as a Jehovah's Witness. The victim died and the defendant was charged with murder. The 'thin skull rule' is a good example of where the law is built on moral principles because it encourages to reconsider the consequences of their actions by showing more concern for others in fear that they may be victimising the vulnerable. If factual and legal causation is proven a chain of causation is created in order to establish whether something else happened after the defendant's actions which may have contributed to the consequence. This is referred to as an intervening act and can either be an act of a third party, the victim's own acts, or a natural but unpredictable event. ...read more.

Conclusion

As this was a foreseeable action of the victim, the defendant would be the causation of the victim's injuries. However, in R V Williams the victim jumped from the defendant's car to prevent his wallet from being stolen and died as a result. This was deemed to be an unforeseeable act of the victim in which cannot be blamed on the defendant. This distinction in the law poses a great deal of controversy in society's morals as a defendant could claim there were 'unforeseeable consequences' for any offence in order to gain a not guilty verdict. This raises the question of where does society 'draw the line' to keep the law fair and precedential, and how will justice be delivered for the victims who have died or sustained serious injuries because of the defendants conduct. In order for moral principles to be upheld in these cases, a jury would need to decide whether the victim's actions were foreseeable based on the case's own merits alone which goes against the doctrine of precedent of which our legal system is built upon. ...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

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)

    An example of this is R v Gibbins & Proctor 1918 this is when D and his common law wife failed to feed the man's 7 year-old child, Nelly, and she died from starvation. The woman hated Nelly, and was clearly the moving force.

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

    The United Nations play a big part in the education of human rights, they have developed a range of educational programs to bring to people's attention the ideas of slaves and bonded labour. The more people are educated on these ideas, the easier it will be to someday outgrow slavery and trafficking.

  1. The justifiable use of force in self-defence depends entirely upon the circumstances in which ...

    He asked why he was beating him and he replied that he was a police officer arresting the youth for mugging an old lady. This was true but he was not an officer and so had no identification to show to the defendant.

  2. Causation is where a consequence must be proved, the prosecution has to show that ...

    In Blaue (1975), D stabbed a woman (v) and punctured her lung. At the hospital, V was told she would need a blood transfusion to save her life, but refused this as contrary to her religious beliefs.

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

    force, and to reduce the number of miscarriages of justices, there are still problems within PACE with creating a fair balance between the police and a suspect as well as still allowing room for the police to abuse their power.

  2. Explain what is meant by the term causation in criminal law and assess how ...

    The D was not culpable for the act. Both factual and legal causation must be established for liability to follow. The acceleration principle- In murder the accused?s act may be considered a cause of death if it has accelerated the victims death (Adams).

  1. Sources of the English Legal System and the Relationship between Legislation and Judicial ...

    However, the judges have no power to question the validity of the Acts of Parliament. Secondly, there is a relation through ambiguity which means ?vague/unclear?. In this case, the judges also change the law if there is ambiguity and there is a need for interpretation.

  2. Explain what is meant by the term 'causation' in criminal law and assess how ...

    An example case of this is Blaue (1975), where the defendant stabbed a Jehovah?s Witness, who refused to have a blood transfusion that would save her life, and thus was guilty of murder. One of the problems in causation is whether this rule should exist.

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