Legal Causation

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  • Created by: DeVanté
  • Created on: 31-03-14 11:24
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  • Causation
    • Factual Causation
      • Factual Causation is established by applying the 'But for' Test
      • If yes, the result would have occurred in any event, the defendant is not liable.
      • This asks, 'but for the actions of the defendant, would the result have occured
      • If the answer is no, the defendant can be found to be liable if their actions are deemed the legal cause
      • R v White
    • Legal Causation
      • 1. Legal causation requires that the harm must result from a culpable act.
        • R v Dalloway 1847
        • Does no apply if offence is one of strict liability (R v Williams 2011)
      • 2.The defendants action need not be the sole cause of the resulting harm, it must be more than minimal:
        • R v Benge 1865
      • 3. There Must be NO Novus Actus Interveniens (Intervening Acts.)
        • An Intervening Act is one that breaks the chain of causation
        • 3a. Act of a third party.
          • The Act of a third party will generally break the chain of causation unless the action was foreseeable.
            • R v Pagett 1983
          • Medical Intervention
            • Where Medical intervention contributes to death, the courts have been inconsistent, generally it is said the treatment has to be 'Palpably Wrong' to break causation
            • R v Jordan 1956
              • R v Smith 1959
                • R v Cheshire 1991
        • 3b. The act of the victim
          • Where the act is of the victim, the chain of causation will not be broken unless the victim's actions are disproportionate or unreasonable
            • R v Roberts 1971
            • R v William & Davies 1992
    • Thin Skull Rule (Egg shell skull rule)
      • Under the thin skull rule, the defendant must take his victim as he finds him.
      • This means if he has a particular vulnerable victim he is fully liable  for consequences to them even if an ordinary person would not have suffered such severe consequences
      • R v Hayward
        • This rule applies irrespective of whether the defendant was aware of the condition
      • R v Holland
        • The Thin Skull rule also applies where the victim has refused medical treatment which would have saved them
        • R v Blaue
          • The Thin Skull rule also applies where the victim has refused medical treatment which would have saved them


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