All AQA A-level Criminal Law Notes

  • Created by: hope1279
  • Created on: 03-06-20 16:34


Red - Cases

Green - Quotes

Blue - Key Term/Offence/Defence

Orange - Definition

Purple - Tests, Rules and Statements

Anything underlined in a definition or rules must be defined when answering a question. All definitions and relevant cases will be below the term. 

When writing an essay, these terms are commonly abbreviated.

D - Defendant

V - Victim

AR - Actus Reus

MR - Mens Rea

FC - Factual Cause/Factual Causation

LC - Legal Cause/Legal Causation

COC - Chain of Causation

ABH -Actual Bodily Harm

GBH - Grievous Bodily Harm


Elements of a Crime: pages 2-5

Non-Fatal Offence Against the Person: pages 5-7

Fatal Offences Against the Person: pages 7-12

Property Offences:  pages 12-14

General Defences: pages 14-17

Attempts: pages 17-19

Statutory Interpretation: pages 19-21

Judicial Precedent: pages 25-27

Sentencing: pages 27-28

Lay People: pages 29-30

The Judiciary and Judicial Independence: pages 30-31

Access To Justice: pages 31-32

Elements of a Crime

1) Actus Reus (AR)

- Latin for the guilty act.

- Physical part of the crime e.g. the action of hitting someone.

- Usually committed through a positive voluntary act but may also result from an omission.

- E.g. Hill V Baxter (made up case by judge to demonstrate the law).

- Can be committed through an omission.

2) Omission.

- Failing to act when the D has a duty to act.

- There are five duties to act.

- 2a) Duty Of Care e.g. R V Gibbons and Proctor. The D’s omission (failing to feed their daughter) became their AR.

- 2b) Public Duty e.g. R V Dytham. The D’s omission (failing to stop a fight as a police officer) became his AR.

- 2c) Duty of Care Voluntarily Accepted e.g. R V Stone and Doblinson. The D’s omission (failing to feed an elderly relative who died as a result) became their AR.

- 2d) Contractual Duty e.g. R V Pittwood. The D’s omission (failing to close the train gate as per his contact and someone dying as a consequence) became his AR.

- 2e) Where D creates a dangerous situation e.g. R V Miller. The D’s omission (starting the fire and failing to put it out or take any action) became his AR.

3) Causation.

- It must be proven that the D caused the V’s death or injury, known as causation. 

- The D must be the a) factual and b) legal cause to be guilty.

3a) Factual Causation (FC)

- To establish FC we ask the “But for the actions of D would V have been injured or killed?“ test. If the answer is no then the D is the factual cause. In other words, without the action or lack of action from the D, would the V still have suffered? There may be more than one person who is the FC and all must be discussed.

- E.g. R V White - D put cyanide in his mother’s drink but




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