Fault as a concept in whichever area of law is a way of describing legal blame and responsibility

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Fault as a concept in whichever area of law is a way of describing legal blame and responsibility. The basic principle is that a defendant (D) should be able to foresee the harm caused by his actions and aims to avoid such. Fault is a way the courts aim to achieve justice or at least balance to loss suffered by the victim against the sanction imposed by the D.

In criminal law, the requirement of Mens Rea (MR) is used to decide whether a D has intent when he commits the act and is at fault for his crime. In contract law, the person who breaches a contract is liable and in tort, foreseeable is appropriate in all aspects of negligence. Theoretically, fault liability requires intention or a conscious failure to take care by the D. However, the courts have developed the strict liability offences where state of mind is not taken into account when finding the D is at fault. For instance, in criminal law, when the protection of society in general is taken into consideration, MR is not needed to prove the culpability of the D who might not be at fault anyway. The Storkwain Ltd case (1986) regarding the prevention of unauthorized drugs is an example. Further example is that of G (2006) when the D was charged under s5 of Sexual Offences Act 2003 with rape of a child under 13, even though he did believe on reasonable grounds that the V was 15. In contract law, strict liability can be found in the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (amended) or in the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. The use of vicarious liability in tort ensures that the employer is liable for his employee’s negligence whether or not he knows or commits the tort (Poland v. Pars 1927) or Rylands v. Fletcher (1868) imposed the liability of a man bringing things onto his land.

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The big question is that is fault an essential part of the English law. The legal presumption is that there should be “no liability without the proof of fault”. It is needed to note that in criminal law, the D remains “innocent until proven guilty” and in order to prove his fault, the prosecutors must do it ‘beyond any reasonable doubt’. Thus, it can be seen that fault is extremely important in this area. To prove a person guilty of an offence, both Actus Reus (AR) and MR are required. The AR is the physical element which includes a ...

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