This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Distinction Between Insanity, Automatism And Diminished Responsibility In The Laws Of England And Wales. Covers The M'naghten Rule Which Is Also A Dominant Rule In Us Legal Doctrine.

2922 words - 12 pages

"The defendant who seeks to avoid criminal liability on the basis that s/he was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the alleged crime must have a defence that falls within one of the following, legally recognised, categories: Insanity, Diminished Responsibility or Automatism. While, at one level or another, these "mental disorder defences" share common characteristics, they each differ significantly. Unfortunately, this point does not appear to be fully appreciated in English Law."Discuss the validity of this statement.Inherent in our legal system is an idea of culpability. The word itself embodies notions of moral responsibility and blame. There are two elements that will allow us to determine whether or not someone is to be considered culpable. The first is that the person on whom we wish to apportion blame is an actual agent of harm as opposed to a mere causer. That is to say that they are instrumental in an action and are not simply a victim of a spasm or similar associated condition. The second is that he/she has the capacity to understand the laws and moral order that exist within society. Hart's principles of justice assert that 'a moral license to punish is needed by society and unless a man has the capacity and fair opportunity or chance to adjust his behaviour to the law, its penalties ought not be applied to him." Such deep-rooted notions of culpability have necessitated development in the area of defences to ensure that those who fall outside of the legally recognised parameters of accountability are afforded 'protection'. Amongst such defences are Insanity, Automatism and Diminished responsibility. This essay will identify the similarities and differences of these defences by exploring their theoretical foundations and determine whether, in practice, they are sufficiently understood by the courts to achieve their desired end.The theoretical basis for an insanity defence is embedded in the notions of fair opportunity as discussed above. It is felt that the insane man is 'too far removed from normality to make us angry with him'. The impetus of the law and its functions might well be considered outside of his comprehension and similarly, so too might the moral implications of his act. Therefore, it would not be either 'efficacious or equitable' to hold such a man criminally responsible . As Duff remarks of the potential insane defendant "if she cannot understand what is being done to her, or why it is being done, or how it is related as a punishment to her past offence, her punishment becomes a travesty?". Therefore, if a defence of insanity is successful the defendant will be given a 'special verdict' namely 'not guilty by reason of insanity'. Although this special verdict may bring indefinite detention (a fact which is reconciled in theory by 'compelling considerations of public interest' ) it still serves to reflect a lack of culpability and therefore, blame.The basis on which the non-insane automatism defence is founded...

Find Another Essay On The distinction between insanity, automatism and diminished responsibility in the Laws of England and Wales. Covers the M'Naghten rule which is also a dominant rule in US legal doctrine.

The Melting Pot and Liberty: The Relationship Between Rule of Law and Shari'ah Law in a Multicultural Society

3512 words - 14 pages The relationship between the principally westernized concept of Rule of Law and the Islamic foundation of Shari'ah law have such fundamental differences that the contemporary melting pot of our multicultural society is being impeded by way of a divergence of customs. Where the premises of multiculturalism is to encourage equality while allowing citizens old and new to maintain their identity and take pride in their ancestry, it is also crucial

The Relationship Between Mother and Daughter in "The Rule of the Game"

1132 words - 5 pages solutions to the problems faced by adolescents”(Nadeau Andrew Solomon of New York Times also says, “Amy Tan is among our great storytellers. In each of her previous novels, she has seduced readers with the intimate magic of her tale. In "The Joy Luck Club" and "The Bonesetter's Daughter," she enthralled us with the painful complexity of human relationships, especially between mothers and daughters. Obscure parts of

Laws of Life: The Golden Rule

709 words - 3 pages The helpless boy, alone, walked to school as the bully’s victim. Countless children going by threw paper at him, tearing down his confidence. Bike riders made fun of him going by. Finally, one unknown classmate walked up to the victimized boy and said, ‘’People can be so mean sometimes. I am here to stick up for you.’’ This helpful classmate clearly follows the golden rule. In the Merriam Webster dictionary, the golden rule means, “a rule of

How strong was the opposition to personal rule in England between 1629-1640

952 words - 4 pages Opposition to Charles’ personal rule between 1629 and 1640 was aimed at him from a number of different angles. The first of these is Religion. Charles came under attack from, in simple terms, the Protestants and the Catholics. He had this attack on him for many different reasons. He was resented by the Catholics, because he was a protestant. To be more precise, he was an Arminian, which was a sector from the protestant side of

Legal Evolution of the Exclusionary Rule

1901 words - 8 pages exclusionary rule as per Weeks was intended to create a powerful tool of deterring police misconduct and reinforcing the Fourth Amendment. In 1918, a new doctrine was introduced to supplement the exclusionary rule. The Fruit of the Poisonous Tree became a first legal principle, which deemed inadmissible to court any evidence that was developed or obtained based on illegal search and seizure. The Fruit of the Poisonous Tree doctrine was first introduced in

Access whether the benefits of Napoleon's rule in France and Europe outweigh the costs between 1799 and 1815

683 words - 3 pages contradicted with the idea of liberty from the Revolution. He made himself Emperor and restored Imperial Nobility. The Revolution had gone in a complete circle now.During Napoleon's rule between 1799 and 1815 the benefits did not outweigh the costs. Many thousands of lives and dollars payed for his military victories which were short lived. The land he had conquered was taken back by their original rulers. This meant that all the money and lives

“According to legal positivism there is no scope for interpretation in judicial decision-making and the judge is strictly rule-bound.” Discuss critic

2692 words - 11 pages statement from a legal pluralist ground. Ehrlich had in mind the actual practice of law. “From the point of view of the judge, the law is a rule according to which the judge must decide the legal disputes that are brought before him” (Ehrlich 2002, p.10) This clearly focuses on the practical role of a judge as a conscious and free decision-maker; and as mentioned previously, we may need to focus on what actually happens in real-life situations such as

Describe the border wars between England and Wales in the High Middle Ages. How did the English control the borders and eventually conquer the Welsh?

1001 words - 4 pages Although it was a poor country riddled with petty kingdoms, Wales was the one region in southern Britain that survived the Anglo-Saxon onslaught following William the Conqueror's victory on the island. The main stay of Wales survival came from its mountainous and wooded terrain, and the very fact that the many rivaling kingdoms within its own borders established a ready-made guerrilla warfare that the royalty of England was ill-prepared to

Explain the Main difference between Act and Rule Utilitarianism (it can also be used to explain the main difference between Bentham and Mill)

2697 words - 11 pages Explain the main differences between Act and Rule UtilitarianismUtilitarianism is a theory, which first became widely acknowledge when it was adopted by its greatest advocate Jeremy Bentham. It is a theory that maintains that it is an action's total consequence that determines its moral correctness. It is a theory not concerned with the effects of the action on the individual carrying out the action, but instead the effect it has on everybody

The Impact of Nazi Rule on the People of Germany between 1933 and 1939

2901 words - 12 pages The Impact of Nazi Rule on the People of Germany between 1933 and 1939 Whether the Nazis made a negative or positive impact on the people of Germany, they most defiantly made one. In making a decision on what this was I will look at all of the aspects of their aeon, and examine them. The bad parts of Nazi sovereignty are obvious: there abominable policies concerning minority groups, their way suppressing the people by

The Extent to Which the Human Rights Act of 1998 Strengthened the Rule of Law in the U.K. Constitution

3695 words - 15 pages concerned to remedy the offending statute, there is a case that the weight of the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty is lessened. With Lord Nicholls going as far as to call the legal basis for imprisonment without charge, ‘anathema in any country which observes the rule of law’,[22] the serious challenge to the traditional position must be considered. Impact of HRA When considering the formal interpretation of

Similar Essays

Automatism, Insanity And Diminished Responsibility Essay

1823 words - 7 pages sleepwalking will remain under the insanity defence. They deem sleepwalking to be a mental pathology, which manifests itself in violence and is prone to recur and therefore because it can be a threat to the public, sleepwalking falls under insanity. It is clear that insanity and automatism share major differences yet are closely related; diminished responsibility can also be compared and contrasted to these defences. Diminished responsibility

Comparing And Contrasting The Differences Of Insanity, Automatism And Diminished Responsibility

1611 words - 6 pages defences, diminished responsibility only impairs responsibility and does not fully excuse it. The courts make the distinction between external and internal causes for the purposes of insanity and automatism in order to separate those who can be released and those who cannot. This is because the two defences have very different results for the defendant. Where successful, automatism results in an acquittal whereas insanity results in a

Explain The Rule Known As "The Rule In Pinnel's Case" And How It Impacted Upon The Doctrine Of Consideration

2267 words - 9 pages Synopsis: This essay examines the rule knows as The Rule in Pinnel's Case and how it impacted upon the doctrine of consideration. It also examines the problems arising from the Rule in Pinnel's Case, the subsequent exceptions that were developed to circumvent the rule and in detail the most important exception of them; Promissory estoppel and how it solved the problem's arising from the Rule. The distinction between traditional estoppel and this

Absolutism And Parliamentary Rule In England

1045 words - 4 pages For a period in time, the Catholic Church held the “divine right of kings” to be all important, to be paramount. To the Catholic Church, it is a doctrine that states royal and political legitimacy. A divine right of kings affirms that a monarch is subject to absolutely no earthly authority. God had given the power and authority to a king in order that he may rule. In doing this, it consequentially gave the king the right to rule directly from