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Strict Liability - Essay Example

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The researcher of this paper shall discuss the thesis that: strict liability must be retained on the basis that it provides social benefits which could not be obtained through any of the supposed alternatives to it and the injustice caused by it is often exaggerated. …
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Strict Liability
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Download file to see previous pages The present study would focus on a strict liability offence is defined as one where “no mens rea need[s] be proved as to a single element in the actus reus”. Strict liability is also apparent when it has at least one element in the actus reus, even without the related mens rea. Strict liability lacks the mens rea element in relation to one of more elements related to actus reus. One of the classic examples of this case was seen in the R v Prince case where the conviction was based on the fact that the Offences against the Person Act 1861 were violated. In this case, Section 55 stated that whoever was to take an unmarried girl, one below the age of 16 years, out of the possession and against the will of her father or mother would be strictly considered liable for a misdemeanour. Strict liability is sometimes used interchangeably with absolute liability. As such, confusion is often seen between these two terms. Nevertheless, it must be understood that absolute liability refers to the liability without mens rea in conjunction with actus reus and without any defence like duress or compulsion “other than the fact that the defendant is under 10”. Strict liability is the liability imposed regardless of mens rea (in relation to actus reus); on the other hand absolute liability is liability even with the lack of mens rea (in conjunction with actus reus) “without the availability of any defence other than the defendant is under 10”. ...
141). Strict liability is the liability imposed regardless of mens rea (in relation to actus reus); on the other hand absolute liability is liability even with the lack of mens rea (in conjunction with actus reus) “without the availability of any defence other than the defendant is under 10” (Oxford University, n.d, p. 141). In instances when a state has favourable reasons for wanting to reduce certain acts and incidents, the reasons behind such prohibition may be associated with the harm principle, where incidents which would cause harm are being prevented. An example of an act which may be regulated by the state is driving. This is an act which can be defined without having to refer to a mental element (University of Pennsylvania, 2003). There may however be instrumental reasons which can be used to define the prohibition and regulation of the act as a strict liability act. In reviewing the benefits of imposing strict liability, a benefit may be seen in terms of cost. Based on administrative assessments, costs before and during the adjudication of a case would likely be reduced with the application of strict liability policies (Oswald, 1993). The elements which have to be proved and tried in court would be reduced and issues encountered also largely minimized. The element of cost is significant because criminal justice often racks up significant costs (Page, 1986). If states would require proof for the commission of any offence in compliance with the elements of actus reus, the implementation of criminal justice would be largely unaffordable and significantly challenging for both the offended parties and the state. Strict ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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