Voluntary Manslaughter

What is Voluntary Manslaughter?


  •      When a person (D) intentionally kills another person (V) unlawfully in circumstances that do not amount to murder. D must have the intention to kill V or cause GBH to V.


The Partial Defences


1) Loss of self-control


2) Diminished responsibility


3) Suicide Pact



Loss of Control


  •       Sections 54-55 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 amended the Homicide Act 1957. It replaced the defence of ‘provocation’ with one called ‘loss of control.


The following three conditions that must be satisfied:


1) D must lose self-control


2) The loss of self-control must have been caused by a qualifying trigger


3) The loss of self-control must be objectively understandable.


Diminished Responsibility


  •      The defence to murder of diminished responsibility set out in s.2 of the Homicide Act 1957 was replaced with an amended version of the defence in 52 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.


Elements of the defence

  •      s.2(1) – D must demonstrate an abnormality of mental functioning
  •      s.2(1)(a) – The abnormality must have arisen from a recognised medical condition
  •      s.2(1)(b) – The abnormality must have substantially impaired D’s ability to:

i) understand the nature of her conduct – 2(1A)(a)

ii) form a rational judgement – S.2(1A)(b)

iii) exercise self-control – S.2(1A)(c)


Relevant case law:

Ahluwalia [1992] 4 All ER 889


Jewell [2014] EWCA Crim 414


Dawes & Ors [2013] EWCA Crim 322


Clinton [2012] EWCA Crim 2


Asmelash [2013] EWCA Crim 157


Foye [2013] EWCA Crim 475


Byrne (1960) 44 Cr App R 246


Dowds [2012] EWCA Crim 281


R [2010] EWCA Crim 194