Series: Foundation Studies in Law series
Publisher: Pearson; 11 edition (9 July 2013)
This book is written for LLB, CPE/Graduate Diploma in Law and BA students sitting examinations on English criminal law in their first or second year whether in England and Wales or outside the jurisdiction. It is hoped that persons with little or no access to law libraries will find the text helpful. The text is also useful for those studying for other qualifications by private study including distance learning. Extracts of law reform reports may be of especial use to such students.
The book, which is analytical in nature, includes those areas of substantive criminal law which are traditionally covered on a criminal law course, and those topics are presented in the way in which English law subjects are normally taught. Criminal law is fast-moving and fast-growing, and there has to be some selection among topics.
Criminal Law can be approached in different ways such as political, feminist, theoretical, and other standpoints may be taken. The focus in this book is on the rules of criminal law and criticism of them. It will quickly become obvious that the law is contingent, historical, and in many ways controversial. There is no vast eternal plan. English criminal law is replete with inconsistencies, and this book replete those issues. Students must grapple with such difficulties,, for a superficial treatment will lead to wrong law and low marks.
Attention is focused on what is sometimes called the ‘internal critique of the law’, in order that such inconsistencies are brought out, and on those areas which present difficulties. This is a common approach in UK Law Schools, but it is well worth considering the approach which your tutors use. There are many areas of controversy such as the definition of offences such as rape, murder and theft and the width of defences such as duress and loss of control. Indeed, controversy rages over whether an element of a crime is a part of the offence or part of the defences. The best example is consent in rape. Is it part of the offence or part of the defence? Students should not think that understanding criminal law consists solely of learning legal rules and knowing how to apply them to the facts. In legal jargon this is a ‘black-letter’ approach to the subject and one which has not been in common use in England and Wales for perhaps 40 years.