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Appraising Strict Liability - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Appraising Strict Liability

Andrew Simester


Strict liability is a controversial phenomenon in the criminal law because of its potential to convict blameless persons. Offences are said to impose strict liability when, in relation to one or more elements of the actus reus, there is no need for the prosecution to prove a corresponding mens rea or fault element. For example, in the 1986 case of Storkwain, the defendant chemists were convicted of selling controlled medicines without prescription simply upon proof that they had in fact done so. It was irrelevant that they neither knew nor had reason to suspect that the ‘prescriptions’ they fu ... More

Keywords: strict liability, criminal law, blameless persons, actus reus, mens rea, fault element, Storkwain, criminal convictions, blame, culpability

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2005 Print ISBN-13: 9780199278510
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199278510.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Andrew Simester, editor
Professor of Legal Philosophy at the University of Nottingham