Intro to Criminal Law

  • Created by: alibizi
  • Created on: 16-09-15 11:48

Criminal law

with such a wide range , its usually quite difficult to generally defining a crime.

  • crime : conduct forbidden by the state , for which there a punishment

Lord Atkin supported this deinition , in the case of Proprietary Trade Associtation V AG Canada.

It is considered that criminal law will change over time, this can be because of :

  • changes in society
  • advances in technology 

eg. Changes in law on consenting homosexual acts , age of consent was reduced to 16 years old in 2000.

eg. The invention of motor cars over a hundred years ago lead to new traffic laws.

Role of the state

Criminal law is mainly set down by the state, usually through an Act of Parliament ( eg. Theft act 1968) , or through issuing regulations. A breach of criminal law can lead to a penalty , such as imprisonment or a fine , being imposed on the D in the name of the state. Therefore , bringing a prosecution for a criminal offence is usually seen as a role of the state.

The majority of criminal prosecutions are conducted by the CPS , which is run by the state , although it is possible for a private organisation to start a prosecution. E.g. RSPCA regulary brings a prosecution against people for the offences of cruelty or neglect of animals. It is also technically possible for an individual person to bring a prosecution but this very rarely happens.

The state always has control over the case, as the AG can stay (halt) the proceedings at any time. This is done by the AG entering a nolle prosequi. This stops the case from taking place , even if the original prosecutor wants to continue .

Furthermore , the state decides what conduct ( behaviour ) is considered to be criminal


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