Introduction to Criminal Law

Why are some actions “criminal” and others are not?


  •      Theorists have focused on the targeting of harm and conduct that infringes the autonomy of the victim when explaining why some actions are criminal and others are not.


Criminal v Civil Law


  •      Tort law, that consists of part of the civil law, is very similar to criminal law. It sometimes even shares the same definitions and common history.


  •      The fundamental difference is that in Tort Law the injured party seeks monetary compensation from the defendant (D).


How does Criminal Law work?


  •     “Harm Principle”
  •     “Offence Principle”
  •     “Legal moralism”
  •     “Legal Paternalism”


The Main Actors in the Criminal Justice System:


  • The Police
  • Crown Prosecution Service (CPS):
  • Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP- head of CPS)
  • The Defendant
  • The Jury
  • The Judge


The most important structural devises for offences


  •      Actus reus (guilty act): Wrongful conduct, consequences required for liability.


  •      Mens rea (guilty mind): Wrongful state of mind that the defendant must have when completing the Actus Reus.


  •     Defence elements: All the elements should be fulfilled for a defence to take place.