Duress is a Defence

  • Created by: pooja
  • Created on: 27-04-09 18:17


Duress - is a defence based on the fact that the defendant has been effectively forced to commit the crime.

  • The defendant has committed the offence because he/she has been threatened with death or serious injury.
  • The law therefore allows a defence.
  • The defendant has to choose between being killed or seriously injured or committing a crime.
  • There is no real choice in a situation like that
  • The defendant can be considered as so terrified that he ceases (gives over) 'to be an independent actor'.
  • However, despite this the defendant knowingly does the actus reus for the offence and has the required mens rea.
  • This means that if the law did not allow the defence, he/she would be liable for the offence.

Duress can be either through a direct threat by another - 'Duress by threats'


external circumstances - 'Duress of circumstances' which overlaps with the defence of necessity.

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What Crimes is Duress availble for?

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