Model Answers


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Model answers are custom answers to a particular question that are written based on the writer’s research and personal understanding of the question. Model answers are not just copied directly from study materials but are provided based on a comprehensive analysis and synthesis of the content of the study materials. The writer is required to provide model answers after a thorough research process that would enable him/her to not only provide the facts but a comprehensive analysis of the questions that are provided. Below is a sample of some law model answers as completed by one of our professional law writers to be used specifically as a company sample paper.

Sample of Law Model Answers

Model Answer 1: Define the actus reus of a crime

The actus reus is the physical and external part of a crime. It means the guilty act. The actus reus must be a positive and voluntary act as illustrated in the case of Hill vs Baxter. In this case, the judge said that driving whilst fighting off a swarm of bees would prevent the act from being voluntary, therefore preventing the actus reus from being satisfied. If the actus reus of a crime is not satisfied the defendant can never be found guilty.

However, there are six situations where a failure to act (omission) will satisfy the actus reus of a crime. These are exceptions to the rule in Hill v Baxter that the act committed must be positive. A person will have a duty to act if they assume the duty voluntarily, as illustrated in Stone v Dobinson, where the defendants failed to provide adequate care for their aunt when they said they would look after her.  

Pittwood illustrates that a contract can require a person to act, in this case the defendant failed to shut a gate, causing death, which he was required to under contract.  In Miller, the defendant created a dangerous situation and satisfied the actus reus of a crime as he did not take any steps to extinguish a fire which he created. In Dytham the policeman held an official position, which required him to act, therefore he was guilty of misconduct when he failed to act while someone got kicked to death.  Gibbins v Proctor illustrates that parents have a duty to feed their child due to their relationship. The final situation where someone can be guilty for a failure to act is an Act of Parliament is wear an Act of Parliament says someone must act, as illustrated by the Road Traffic Act 1988 which says people must wear a seatbelt and the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 which says that parents have a positive obligation to look after their children. 

Model Answer 2: Explain using cases, the meaning of causation

Causation is the link between the acts of the defendant and the illegal consequence. Two types of causation must be established for the defendant to be guilty of a crime; these are factual and legal causation. If there are both, then causation is established.

In order for factual causation to be established the “but for” test is used, the prosecution must prove that “but for” (if you take away) the defendants act, the consequence would not have happened. This is illustrated in White and Pagett. In White, there was no factual causation for murder because his act did not cause his mother’s death, because she would have died without his act. In Pagett, there was factual causation because the victim would not have died, if he hadn’t used her as a human shield.

Legal causation limits who is to blame using a “chain of causation”, this can be broken by an intervening act, which means that the defendant’s act was not a substantial and operating cause of the consequence (Jordan). The effect of this is that the defendant will not be guilty. The victims own act, the act of another and an unforeseeable event can constitute an intervening act to break the chain, but will not always do so where the defendant’s conduct was still the substantial cause. In Dear, the victim committed suicide following the defendant’s attack however, the chain was not broken by the victim’s own act because the attack was a substantial cause of the suicide.

In Roberts and Williams, the victim’s both jumped from a moving car, sustaining injuries. In Roberts, the chain was not broken as she jumped for her safety, which was reasonable and foreseeable. However, in Williams the chain was broken as it was not reasonable or foreseeable to jump to protect property.

Jordan illustrates that an act of a third party may break the chain, where the defendant was given drugs he was allergic to however, medical treatment will rarely break the chain as illustrated in Malcherek v Steel Cheshire and Smith. In Smith, a series of medical mistakes were made, however the chain was not broken as the defendant’s act was still a substantial cause of death unlike in Jordan.   

Model Answer 3: Define the men’s rea of a crime

The men’s rea is the guilty mind, or the mental element of a crime. There are two types of men’s rea, which are:  intention and recklessness. There are two types of intention, direct and indirect (oblique). Direct intention can be found if the jury decide that the defendant has done all in their power to bring about the consequence as held in Mohan. Indirect intent can be found where the jury decide that the consequences were virtually certain and that the defendant knew this when committing the act as held in Woollin. An illustration of this is the case of Matthews and Alleyne where the defendants knew that the victim could not swim, but threw him into water anyway. This satisfied the Woollin test for indirect intent.

The test for recklessness comes from the case of Cunningham, in this case the defendant ripped a gas meter from a wall, it was found that he was not reckless because he did not foresee the risk of poisoning from his act. The test for recklessness is did the defendant foresee the risk and go on to take it.

The men’s rea can be transferred from one victim to another as illustrated in Mitchell. In this case the defendant pushed someone who fell into the victim. His malice was transferred from the person he pushed to the victim.   

Model Answer 4: Explain using cases, the meaning of strict liability

A strict liability offence is one which requires no men’s rea, therefore committing the actus reus is enough for the defendant to be convicted of an offence.

Most offences are not strict liability, in fact according to Gammon v AG for Hong Kong unless Parliament says that the offence does not require men’s rea there is a presumption that it does, as illustrated in the case of Sweet v Parsley. Furthermore, strict liability offences should not be truly criminal offences such as murder, rape or GBH.

Examples of strict liability cases include food safety as recognised in Smedleys v Breed where a caterpillar was found in a tin of peas, the manufacturer was found guilty although there was no men’s rea. Another example is broadcasting without a licence, as illustrating in Blake. IN Shah v Harrow LBC the defendant was guilty of selling lottery tickets to someone underage, although they had no men’s rea and Alphacell v Woodward illustrates that pollution is a strict liability offence, even where reasonable care is taken.

Although unfair, the reasons for having strict liability offences are that they save court time and money and strict liability offences such as speeding protect the public.

Absolute liability offenses are harsher and used to protect the public, for these no men’s rea is required and the actus reus does not need to be committed voluntarily as illustrated in Winzar where the defendant was charged for being drunk on a public highway after being taken and left there by the police.