Criticisms Of Non Fatal Offences Essay Writing

The OAPA is Victorian legislation which contains a diverse set of offences and was never intended to be a consistent set of rules. As a result, there is no uniformity of language between the sections, and key words and phrases are not defined in the Act.

The Act uses complicated and obscure language such as 'maliciously' and 'grievous' which is difficult for non-lawyers to understand. There is no statutory definition of assault or battery. The terminology is also not the same throughout the Act ~ what difference is there between 'causing', 'inflicting', or 'occasioning' harm?

The Act contains offences which are no longer necessary in the 21st century, such as S17 "impeding a person endeavouring to save himself from a shipwreck", and S39 "assaults with intent to obstruct the sale of grain".

The law is outdated as the Act focuses on 'bodily harm' but does not mention psychological injury. Lord Steyn in R v Ireland commented that "the Victorian legislator (...) would not have in mind psychiatric illness", but mental illnesses are now better known and the law needs to reflect this.

The courts need to be creative in relation to stalking (R v Cox) and biological GBH (R v Dica).

Just writing up some answers to the evaluation questions that I want to learn so I have a pre planned answer for each of the 3 potential questions that could come up.

I believe im right in saying that for a murder/voluntary manslaughter evaluation question requires

PCA - Murder (Criticisms)
PCB - Diminished Responsibility & Loss of Control (Criticisms of each)
PCC - Reforms

That's all fine, my only issue is how many points/paragraphs to write for each of the potential content, there is so much I could write about but bearing in mind ill have about 25 minutes to write it, I need to make sure I don't waffle on too much so want to go into the exam with a pre planned answer.

Just wrote an answer up quickly following this structure:

PARAGRAPH 1 - Murder General Criticism (Outdated language)

PARAGRAPH 2- Murder Criticism of Actus Reus (Reasonable Creature - foetus)

PARAGRAPH 3 - Murder Criticism of Mens Rea (Intention issues)

PARAGRAPH 4 - Murder Reforms (First/Second Degree Murder)

PARAGRAPH 5 - Diminished Responsibility Criticism (Burden of Proof)

PARAGRAPH 6 - Diminished Responsibility Strengths (Reforms C&J Act 09)

PARAGRAPH 7 - Loss of Control Criticism (Sexual Infidelity)

PARAGRAPH 8 - Loss of Control Strengths (C&J Act 09 - Provocation)


I wasn't really given any model answers or help on how to structure this particular question, so I would welcome any constructive advice on how to improve it. Im worried that ive possibly spent too much time discussing murder (3 criticisms - general/actus reus/mens rea) and not enough time criticising loss of control and diminished responsibility (only 1 criticism each - sexual infidelity/burden of proof). The essay takes up almost 4 sides of A4, so I cant really make it any longer, as I wont physically be able to write quick enough. I

f anybody has any sample answers or plans that they wouldn't mind sharing, or just general advice, that would be great... thanks!!!

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