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

Liability in criminal law

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

'Liability in criminal law normally requires the prosecution to establish that the accused has caused the relevant prohibited consequences or conduct to occur. For instance, in homicide, that the accused has caused the victim's death.' The courts have taken various approaches to the issue of causation. In English Law, the courts acknowledge that it is possible for a defendant to still be liable for the occurance of a prohibited conduct even though they may not appear to be directly responsible for the final act which contributed to the death. The issue of causation is often raised in cases of homicide. No rules have been established that legislation over the issue of causation, instead case law have determined a variety of precendents to solve the problems caused by causation in various circumstances. It isn't difficult to decide whether a defendant's conduct caused the death in question, but it may be argued that a third party contributed to the death. The courts have decided that the principle of causation should be split into two tests, and the defendant must be proven responsible for the factual cause of the death, and the legal cause of the death. ...read more.

Middle

defendant can not be held as the factual cause of the death, then it does not matter whether they are the legal cause or not. The court's will also carry out a test, to establish whether the accused's conduct was also the legal cause of the death, the prosecution will attempt to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant's act was a substantial cause of the death, and that there is not an intervening act which had broken the chain of causation. Obviously a defendant could not be held liable if they weren't a significant contribution to the death. This was established in the case of White 1910. The defendant was a man that had attempted to poison his mother, he had put poison into her drink, but she suddenly died of a heart attack before she drunk it. The courts decided that the defendant couldn't be held liable for the death of his mother, and he had not caused her death, and that she would have died irrespective as to whether he poisoned her drink. The test used to establish that the defendant's actions are the factual cause of death is the 'but for' test, the courts must be convinced that the death would not have occurred but for the actions of the accused. ...read more.

Conclusion

The courts have decided that the principle of causation should be split into two tests, and the defendant must be proven responsible for the factual cause of the death, and the legal cause of the death. So the prosecution has to prove to the required burden of 'beyond reasonable doubt', that the conduct of the accused caused the resulting harm, and also that the accused in liable in law. The issue of causation is often raised in cases of homicide. No rules have been established that legislation over the issue of causation, instead case law have determined a variety of precendents to solve the problems caused by causation in various circumstances. It isn't difficult to decide whether a defendant's conduct caused the death in question, but it may be argued that a third party contributed to the death. The courts have decided that the principle of causation should be split into two tests, and the defendant must be proven responsible for the factual cause of the death, and the legal cause of the death. So the prosecution has to prove to the required burden of 'beyond reasonable doubt', that the conduct of the accused caused the resulting harm, and also that the accused in liable in law. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Capital Punishment 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 GCSE Capital Punishment essays

  1. 'Liability in criminal law normally requires the prosecution to establish that the accused has ...

    As demonstrated in Dalloway 1847 where the 'but for test' was applied in order to determine whether the defendant was criminally liable for having had killed a three year old child. It was decided after having had looked at the facts that if it hadn't been for the driver travelling

  2. Causation - the 'but for' test.

    in a glass containing his mothers drink-she drank the contents of the glass, but died of a heart failure before the poison could take effect. White was convicted of attempted murder. Bearing causation in fact, the defendants act in placing poison in the drink did not in anyway cause her death.

  1. Legal Causation.

    This in Ali's case could apply because he was the main cause why Charles was in hospital. Also that it may have not been the punch that Ali delivered that killed Charles but the collision made because of the act, Also the time taken for the ambulance to arrive could

  2. Our aim of for both questions is to explore the guilty conduct required of ...

    Secondly, that this fear was such that it caused him to try to escape; moreover that his fear of being hurt there and then was reasonable and was caused by the conduct of the defendant. Lastly, that Aisha's conduct was such as any reasonable and responsible person would recognise "as

  1. Comparative legal systems

    Part of the arbitrariness concern was that the death penalty had been imposed unevenly, infrequently and often selectively against minorities.

  2. Decide whether the rules of causation are now weighted too far against the interests ...

    It was alleged that his wallet had flown into the air as he had jumped. The victim was travelling to a festival and had 'hitched' a lift from the defendants. He then jumped out 5 miles further on and was killed.

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