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GDL Law Notes GDL Criminal Law Notes

Theft Notes

Updated Theft Notes

GDL Criminal Law Notes

GDL Criminal Law

Approximately 551 pages

A collection of the best GDL notes the director of Oxbridge Notes (an Oxford law graduate) could find after combing through applications from top students and carefully evaluating each on accuracy, formatting, logical structure, spelling/grammar, conciseness and "wow-factor". In short these are what we believe to be the strongest set of GDL notes available in the UK this year. This collection of GDL notes is fully updated for recent exams, also making them the most up-to-date GDL study materials ...

The following is a more accessible plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our GDL Criminal Law Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

Criminal Law : Theft

  • S1(1) Theft Act 1968

  • Need all elements existing simultaneously.


  • Offence of theft found in s1(1) Theft Act 1968.

  • AR = appropriation of property belonging to another.

  • MR = dishonestly and with an intention to permanently deprive.


  • Any assumption (s3(1)) of any one right (Morris).

  • S3(1): ‘any assumption ... of the rights of an owner’.

  • R v Morris: Assumption of any one right [re switching price label].

  • Eg, offering for sale (Pitham and Hehl).

  • Includes damaging/destroying.

  • Later appropriation (s3(1))

  • Need all elements of theft to exist simultaneously.

  • S3(1)—allows for later appropriation, when missing MR at first appropriation.

  • [[note alternative, Hale continuing appropriation

  • Consent of owner irrelevant (Gomez):

  • Morris, obiter: no appropriation if owner consents.

  • But current law: D can appropriate even with consent of owner, appropriation is a neutral act (R v Gomez). [re, shop manager had consented to sale of electrical goods using stolen cheques

  • Theft of gifts (Hinks): consequence of Gomez can be theft of lifetime gifts (Hinks appropriation, with consent, can count, re Hinks taking money from 53-yr-old man).

  • Innocent purchasers: s3(2)

  • S3(2): no theft where D purchasers for value in good faith, then later discovers seller had no title to the property, but decides to keep it.

  • R v Adams: purchaser stolen goods in good faith; later discovered they were stolen; appeal quashed [[though if he then tried to sell them, implying he had legal title, would be guilty of fraud]].

Property (s4)

  • What cannot be stolen:

  • Cannot steal confidential information (Oxford v Moss, re a stolen exam paper)—isn’t covered by ‘intangible property’ in s4(1)).

  • But s4(1) incudes other ‘intangible’ property—eg copyright, debt, patents, rights under a trust.

  • Cannot steal electricity (Low v Blease, burglar made a phone call, didn’t steal electricity).

  • Land (s4(2):

    • S4(1) property can be ‘real’.

    • S4(2): cannot steal land/things forming part of land and severed from it, except:

      • NOTE this is the general general rule -- cannot steal land, EXCEPT ...

    • S4(2)(a): trustee/personal representative.

    • S4(2)(b): when not in possession of land, and appropriates by severing or after has been severed.

    • S4(2)(c): under a tenancy

  • S4(3): re mushrooms/flowers/fruit/foliage--> not theft unless for sale/commercial purpose.

  • S4(4): re wild creatures can steal if reduced into possession.

Belonging to another

  • S5(1): includes ‘possession’, ‘control’ and ‘proprietary right or interest’.

  • Can steal one’s own property (R v Turner (No 2))/s5(1) own car, garage had possession & control of it.

  • Abandoned property

    • Just because original owner has no more use for it, doesn’t mean abandoned (Williams v Phillips, re goods in dustbin, remains owner until passes to council courts don’t like to consider property abandoned.

    • Original owner doesn’t abandon just because stops looking (Smith & Hogan, eg lost engagement ring).

    • Hibbert v McKiernan: lost golf balls not abandoned just because stopped looking.

    • [[might depend on value/state of the property etc]].

  • Possession or control

    • Turner: can steal own property.

    • Woodman: can have control of property without knowing you’ve got it. Re a factory, closed off to trespassers in ‘control’ of site, scrap metal belonged to the company even though didn’t know was there.

    • Parker v British Airways Board: gold bracelet in BA lounge; needed to demonstrate intention to exercise control over lost items; semi-public space.

    • Parker: Talks about a spectrum—at one extreme, where free access (eg a park), unlikely to have control, would need to take stringent, express steps to intention to control; CF, other extreme, eg a secure bank vault, or a private house, or a secure bank vault, would have clear implied intention to exercise control over things found. In between these extremes: forecourts of petrol stations; unfenced front gardens; public parts of shops, etc. BA lounge was in middle band.

    • [[NB, property could belong both to original owner and someone having ‘possession/control’ like Turner, re the car in garage]].

  • [[SO where someone finds property somewhere, ask: (1) whether abandoned by original owner; (2) whether owners of land where property found exercise ‘possession/control’ over it. If either applies, can be theft, because ‘belongs to another]].

  • Property given to another for a particular purpose—s5(3)

    • State the problem: legal ownership of property has passed [[NOTE THIS in exam]]. Can still belong to another under s5(3) TA.

    • Must be a legal obligation for accused to use property in a particular way.

    • Question of law for judge, Need Intention to create legal relations (ICLR).

    • Eg, commercial situation, R v Clowes (No 2) obligation to invest money in government stock, s5(3) applied, money ‘belonged’ to original investors.

    • Can be imposed in domestic situations, Davidge v Bunnett, flat-mates, money for paying gas bills.

    • R v Breaks and Huggan: directors of company, failed to keep clients and funds separate. CA held: s5(3) not automatic application—trial judge to decide in each case whether legal obligation under civil law.

    • R v Hall, re travel agent, s5(3) didn’t operate, no legal obligation, no contractual obligation to keep client’s money separate until he provided flights.

    • CF R v Klineberg & Marsden: found legal obligation, customers told money was held on trust re developing a timeshare development; most paid into company’s bank account and lost; found legal obligation to deal with money in a particular way, distinguished Hall, because contract gave express assurances that money was to be safeguarded in a stake-holding trust company.

    • Also applies to using proceeds in a particular way (R v Wain)-> raised money in a telethon for charity; legal obligation to use the proceeds of the notes & coins donated to him to give to the charity.

    • So s5(3) operates where there is a legal obligation to deal in a particular way.

    • State the effect of s5(3): it does not...

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