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Liability For Omissions Notes

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This is an extract of our Liability For Omissions document, which we sell as part of our Criminal Law Notes collection written by the top tier of Oxford students.

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

Criminal Law- Herring Chapter 2 The reason we don't criminalise omissions is because it is telling someone to do a good thing, which removes their ability to make their own positive moral choices and therefore reduces the ability to have a fulfilling life.

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Actus reus is the conduct element of a crime, p.85

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A conduct crime is one in which a forbidden action is taken

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A result crime is one in which a forbidden act is taken and causes a particular result

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Where an act is not taken voluntarily, the defendant is an "automaton" and is not guilty p.87

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A person is guilty of a crime due to their failing to act, only when they have a duty to act

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Statutory crimes cannot find someone guilty on the basis of omission- p.88

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Duties to act: Statutory duty (e.g. to drive safely), law enforcement (duty of a policeman to protect the public), contractual duty (a duty that may arise through employment e.g. as a train driver), assumed duties (voluntarily taken on duties of care e.g. agreeing to look after a sick person). P.88-89

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Other duties include failing to stop others using your property for the purpose of crime; a continuing action where actus reus and mens rea combine e.g. Fagan case p.91; where you have created danger and must therefore remove it.

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The defendant is under a duty to act if it is reasonable that they should do so, e.g. a mother finds her child drowning in a shallow pond- p.94

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One can be liable for being in a certain situation, without having undertaken an actus reus. E.g. Larsonneur was in the UK having been returned there by the Irish police- possibly unfair since she did not wish to return to UK though in going to a country where she had no more right to be than in the UK, she took the risk of being returned. P.100

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Vicarious liability is where one person is liable for the actions of another e.g. an employer for an employee

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Causation is left to the common sense of a jury- p.101 Factual causation is the test that asks whether "but for the action of the defendant" would the victim have suffered in the way and time that they did. This

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