Explain The Arguments For And Against Strict Liability Offences Sample Essay

The concept of strict liability offenses can be summarized as follows: these offenses do not necessitate proving criminal intent, or mens rea. In cases of strict liability, individuals can be convicted even if they did not intend to commit a crime but are found to have committed a specific element of the actus reus. The examples of Prince and Hibbert serve as illustrations for this concept.

In the case of Prince (1875), a girl was abducted by Prince. He knew that she belonged to her father but believed that she was 18 years old. His intention to take her away led to his conviction for mens rea. On the other hand, in the case of Hibbert (1869), the defendant engaged in sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl publicly. However, he was acquitted as there wasn’t enough evidence proving his awareness of the father’s authority over her.

The defendant was dismissed in a strict liability offence because mens rea could not be proved, though age played a significant role. Strict liability offences are mostly regulatory and created by statute, governing areas like licensing, road traffic, food safety, pollution, and health and safety. While some strict liability offences can result in imprisonment upon conviction, many are minor and carry penalties like fines.

The introduction of strict liability laws occurred in response to the industrial revolution. This time period brought about several issues such as an increase in population, the spread of diseases, improvements in working conditions, and lower mortality rates. In order to address these problems, new laws were necessary to hold authorities and employers accountable for unsafe practices that were not being properly punished. The concept of liability stems from the philosophical principle of ‘utilitarianism’, which focuses on maximizing benefits for the largest number of people.

However, some argue that strict liability can be contradicted by companies that have been fined. In these cases, only the consumers suffer as the cost of goods rise, despite strict liability acting as a deterrent for illegal practices. The purpose of strict liability is clear, but it is also controversial in the field of law making. This essay will outline commonly put forward arguments for and against strict liability in terms of its effectiveness in enforcing the law and maintaining standards.

The use of strict liability is often justified by two main reasons. Firstly, it is believed that strict liability promotes enhanced safety and better prevention standards, providing the public with improved protection against the risks associated with certain activities. Secondly, strict liability offenses eliminate the need for the prosecution to prove mens rea, saving time and effort. This results in increased vigilance and administrative efficiency and serves as a deterrent for conviction and unsafe behavior.

Despite the concept of strict liability offenses, which eliminates the need to prove fault, a moral dilemma arises regarding whether it is justifiable to penalize someone who had no intent to commit a crime and took preventive measures. This argument challenges the implementation of strict liability as it suggests that despite objections, it remains a criminal offense that lacks robust enforcement.

The concept of strict liability is frequently criticized for its ability to hold individuals accountable without considering their responsibility. This can lead to a decline in the public’s respect for both the law and the criminal justice system. This perception stems from the idea that the legal system does not uphold moral standards. An example demonstrating this is Callow v Tillstone (1900), where a butcher sold a carcass based on a veterinarian’s assessment of its suitability for human consumption.

Despite taking full measures to ensure the carcass was fully examined before placing it on the market, the butcher was sentenced for a strict liability offense. Some argue that this violates the fundamental principle of criminal liability, known as ‘actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea’, which translates to “an act does not make a man guilty of crime, unless his mind is also guilty.” Lord Hailsham stated this principle in Haughton v Smith [1975] AC 476.

Strict liability in criminal law is when the normal requirement of both an actus reus and a mens rea is broken. However, strict liability does not need proof of mens rea for at least one part of actus reus. This can lead to a lower penalty. Despite this, even with a small punishment, a defendant may still experience the embarrassment of being convicted for committing a criminal offense.

The reputation and livelihood of a defendant may be negatively impacted by strict liability offenses, potentially leading to ruin. This aspect is often disregarded in such cases, which raises concerns about the fairness of strict liability. The case of Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain v Storkwain (1986) exemplifies the perceived injustice of strict liability, where the defendant supplied forged drugs on prescription without being deemed to have acted improperly or negligently, as the forgery successfully deceived the pharmacist.

Despite this, the defendant’s conviction was upheld because the pharmacist had still delivered the medication, making them guilty of the offence. It was proven that Storkwain had willingly provided the drugs, establishing the actus reus of the offence and leading to his conviction for a strict liability offence. Considering all these factors, strict liability remains a valuable aspect within the legal system as it simplifies the enforcement of offences.

In the case of Gammon (Hong Kong) Ltd v Attorney-General, the absence of mens rea would have significantly impacted the court’s decision and made it challenging to convict the builders for their wrongdoing, as they did not have the intent to cause damage. However, the application of strict liability resulted in their punishment. Despite lacking intention, the builders were still held accountable for causing parts of the building to collapse, leading to their prosecution.

Therefore, this demonstrates the importance placed on the legal system. In conclusion, while strict liability has drawbacks, it could be more beneficial if implemented correctly and with some modifications. In lieu of strict liability, a possible alternative in cases without fault could be incorporating a negligence requirement for offenses. This would ensure that a defendant is only convicted if they fail to meet the reasonable standard of care, as it is morally unjustifiable to prosecute someone who did not intend to commit a crime.

Although proving mens rea can be challenging because of varying intentions, implementing strict liability guarantees that individuals within large companies are held accountable and prosecuted if found guilty. To lessen the harshness of strict liability, it would be advantageous to include a due diligence defense in laws. Consequently, my preference is for strict liability with suitable adjustments.


Elliot, C. E. (2010), English Legal System, 11th ed, Essex: Pearson

Allen, M. A. (2009), Criminal Law, 10th ed, New York: Oxford

Martin, J. M, (2007), Unlocking Criminal Law, 2nd ed, UK: Hodder Education

Card, R. C. (2008), Criminal Law, 18th ed, New York: Oxford University Press

Herring, J. H. (2009), Criminal Law ,6 th edition ,New York :Palgrave Macmillan law master

Quinn F.Q., (2010), Criminal Law ,8 th edition ,Essex :Pearson

Is Voting For Young People

Every four years the citizens of the United States of America come together to vote and elect the President of the United States. Voting in any type of election is important because it voices our opinions in selecting important leaders and officials and overall policies. Voting helps the person to decide what will they see done for themselves in the future depending leader who has the same views as you. The voter also is able to voice their opinion in future policies that will come into effect in the nation.

Throughout the history of the United States the right to vote has been the most cherished constitutional rights that many have fought for to have. Election Day in the United States is the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November. Election Day this year happens to be this upcoming Tuesday, November sixth. This Tuesday I do plan to vote in the Presidential Elections. There are many reasons on why I plan to vote not only in these elections but the elections to follow as well.

Voting is important in the nation we live in today. From the time the constitution was formed voting was a right given to citizens of the United States that gave them the opportunity to voice their opinion in our government system. Voting is a way for a person to speak ones mind and let ones voice be heard. When voting one is telling elected officials how we fill about a particular policy or other important issues our government should address. A persons voice is their vote and one needs to make it official by voting.

This is a reason why I am voting, to let my voice be heard and have my say in government policy and have the ability in having a vote in who will run our country. Throughout the history of the United States people have fought to have the right to vote. By voting one honors the history of this country. One also honors the path this country took to have the right to vote for all peoples not only the select few. This is one of the reasons why I am voting, to honor our countries history and vote for those who fought for this right and those who still fight for the right to vote.

The last reasons why I plan to vote are because it provides change for our own lives and others, change for the present, and change for the future. When one votes one not only votes for the issues they believe in but others whom one shares those same views with. Voting can effect changes that we are now faced with, like high taxes. This example of high taxes can be seen how people are paying high taxes and when enough votes go for lowering tax rates the rates are lowered through this voting process. When we vote our policies won’t only effect the present but the future as well.

Throughout history many changes have been made to our system of government can be still seen today. These are the reasons why I plan to vote. Every citizen of the United States has the right to vote and should exercise this right because of these reasons I’ve explained. Author Martin P. Wattenberg of Is Voting For Young People, gives many reasons on why young people don’t vote. Some of my reasons and my decision for voting do contrast with Wattenberg’s explanation for reasons why young people don’t vote.

Wattenberg’s reasons for why young people don’t vote are in my view true. Wattenberg writes that young people are less politically informed. He mentions the idea of the newspaper. The newspaper is a vital source that many people use to keep up with government and politics especially in time of elections. Wattenberg’s argument is that young people are not reading newspapers not only because of how technology has changed but simply because they do not choose too.

Wattenberg writes, “Today’s young adults can potentially learn a tremendous amount about politics from newspaper Web sites, if they so choose, but it would appear that very few are choosing to do so. ” (Wattenberg 26) Wattenberg is saying in this statement that its not that the young are not reading the newspaper because they have an alternate source to have the same information a newspaper has, but that some young people simply have lack of interest in elections. I can agree with Wattenberg in a sense. I do not read the newspaper to keep up with Presidential debates and election news.

I use an alternate source such as televised news or Internet news web sites to keep up with these. Wattenberg’s evidence about news consumption, media habits, and technology does approximate my outlook on voting and the American Political system. Wattenberg does bring out compelling evidence about some problems with news consumption, media habits, and technology. Wattenberg describes how televised news networks have a lot of potential but it goes under utilized in an America where entertainment matters more.

In America today, television networks all have an eye set on the ratings they get from the viewers. Viewers are interested in entertainment and being amused. Few young adults watch television when politics is on. Wattenberg mentions, “When politics is on, young people are off somewhere else, or are reaching for the remote control” (Wattenberg 29). As I see myself as a voter who gets information from news and internet news that can potentially be biased, I question myself if the reasons I am voting for the topics or issues are valid or not.

Wattenberg’s evidence does affect my outlook of voting and the political system because it makes me question where one can truly get the non-biased information. I believe Wattenberg is correct about the reasons young people do not vote. In my experience, some of my fellow peers do not plan on voting. Wattenberg is correct when he states, “Young adults today can hardly challenge the establishment if they don’t have a basic grasp of what is going on in the political world” (Wattenberg 55). Many of my peers do not follow politics and have no interest in participating in the upcoming election.

Today, many young adults are preoccupied with their social lives and education and do not have voting as a priority. They lack the knowledge of how important the role of voting plays in our nation. When one does hear political information about politics this has a reaction to shape ones reasons for voting. The information received may affect one personally and have a direct impact on the individual. This shows how if a person hears information false or not can affect how that person is going to vote or not and the reasons for voting in that way.

Wattenberg’s explanation for why young people do not vote is clarified through his evidence. In our nation voting is for all citizens above the age of 18. How I see the issue of young people voting being a problem is what I disagree with. Whether it is young people not being allowed to vote or old people not being allowed to vote, only well informed people should vote because those are the ones with the knowledge that know what is really going on in our system.

Boston Massacre Was A Mere Incident

Hiller B. Zobel presents a different aspect of the known story of The Boston Massacre. He also included historical research to give more info on why it was caused, why it wasn’t stop, and supports of it. Zobel’s main purpose is to take away the myth, of what really happen on March 5th, 1770, to show it was a mere incident, instead of a pre meditated killing form the British. With that included he gives details on all the intolerable acts, all of which stirred up anger in Boston.

Also, the violence that was used by Boston’s radical elements to try to counter these acts. Also explains why the British soldiers were in Boston in the first place. Here starts off on explaining the events that happen before the massacre, such as the French and Indian War of which he stated “American enemies were the savages who threatened the western settlements, and thus, incidentally, the investments of the seaboard land speculators” (page 5).

As well as the new royal representatives they received after the war such as, Francis Bernard “a roast beef of a man with influential connections, arrived in Boston on August 2, 1760” (page 6) and replacement of Chief Justice Stephen Sewall, Thomas Hutchinson “Hutchinson brought not merely a wide acquaintance with the ways of merchants, but a lifetime of thinking of public problems… Serving his countrymen… solution of those problems” (Page 10).

The purpose of this was a mere introduction, as well as a foreshadowing of what the British were going to start on. Chapters three through fifth-teen are all the events right before the Boston Massacre, such as the violence over the Sugar Act duties, and the Stamp Act duties in America. Information gathered about the Stamp Act was included “taxes of up to ?10 would have to be paid for pre-stamped paper…papers used in clearing ships from harbors, college diplomas, bonds, and deeds for land,…pamphlets, newspapers” (page 25).

The action of the Americans was also stated “in 1764, a rudimentary nonimportation association had been formed…a special type of violent nonviolence. Forbear the importation, or consumption, of English goods…to eat no lamb… forms The Stamp Act Congress”(Page 26). Another event was the Liberty Riot, which was explained in great detail “a mob attacked them with clubs, stones, and brickbats.

Harrison, badly battered about the chest managed to keep his legs and escape…Hallowell knocked to the ground and left there, covered in blood…mob then surrounded Hallowell’s house, breaking windows and trying to force an entry” (Page 75). Because of those events, and many others, it led the British to establish troops in Boston, which led to even more drastic occurrences such as the Quartering Act, and to be known as the Coffee House Brawl.

The Quartering Act was a law passed by the British government to were the American colonist need to house British soldiers “On August 31, troops from London, of which was led by Captain William Sheriff, were to head for Boston and to be in two regiments, one in the castle, and the other in town…if the town-based soldiers should be insulted and threatened, then the Castle regiment would move to town…Bernard and shirreff also worked out details of housing the new troops. (Page 89). The Quartering Act was an important factor towards the Boston Massacre due to the high rise of anger, which was expressed by the colonist “Words from the Boston Gazette cause Bernard to consider seriously for the first time the real possibility of a bloody opposition to the soldiers’ arrival…Benjamin Franklin said three years earlier about soldiers sent to America, that they will not find a rebellion; they may indeed make one. ”(Page 91).

After the troops have finally arrived, many troubles and incidents occurred, such as the Coffee House Brawl, which was a Brawl in a British coffee house against Sons Of Liberty member James Otis and British Commissioner John Robinson “About seven o’clock in the evening, carrying his new cane, Otis walked into the British Coffee House…Among the bystanders who watched Otis as he entered the main room were Captain Brabazon O’Hara, Captain Jeremiah French…But Otis was looking for the tall figure of Robinson” (Page 148).

His main purpose on why he gave so much information on all the events that occurred before the massacre was to basically show the ingredients put into the recipe of what became the Boston Massacre. Finally chapter sixteen is when the Boston Massacre occurred. He begins the chapter by talking about what occurred days before the Massacre which was a battle between civilians and soldiers in New York “The Boston Gazette had run what John Adams called a pompous account on February 19, trumpeting the citizens’ victory…Boston soldiers and raised exultations among some sorts of the inhabitants.

What had happened in New York could happen in Massachusetts” (Page 181). Adding this event to his book was a great attribute to his main argument and purpose of why the Boston Massacre, was not a massacre at all but a mere incident. Another great event added was a confrontation between a rope maker William Green, and a British solider Patrick Walker, at which Walker was looking for work, and Green offered him an embarrassing job “Soldier, do you want work? Asked Green. Yes, I do, faith, said Walker. Well, said Green, in a triumph of ready wit, then go and clean my shithouse.

Empty it yourself said walker. After more such exchanges…walker stormed off swearing he would have his revenge” (Page 182). This later turned into a little brawl against rope makers and the British soldiers “In a few moments he was back, reinforced by eight soldiers…the workers called for help. From other parts of the ropewalk, club-carrying assistance came then the soldiers were repelled…within fifth teen minutes, their number increased to near forty…The civilians thought soon outnumbered them and turned the battle and drove the soldiers out” (Page 182).

Like the battle in New York, this was very important to his main purpose and argument because those events led the British to be very up-tight and knowing “that the explosion must be near” (Page 183). When the massacred occurred on March 5, 1770 and the explosion of a mob and the British was occurring many words were being yelled at the British like “Fire! ”(Page 192), “strike at the root; there is the nest” (Page 192), “Damn you, you sons of bitches, fire” (Page 195), “You can’t kill us all” (Page 195).

The high intensity and the much added pressure put on the British, just enhance his main statement in the book that the British’s intentions were not planned and were just defending themselves. Captain Thomas Preston, plead to the mob over and over again “Shouting at the crowd, trying to convince it to disperse. For answer he got hoots, curses, and snowballs. ” (Page 196). This statement proves that in a way the British at least try to warn the mob to leave, which once again enhances his argument on it was an incident.

As the time passes more and more pressure from the mob develops “Physically as well as audibly, the crowd pressure increased. The soldiers were trembling, whether in fear or in rage…men kept daring the Redcoats to fire,…As the soldiers played or thrust with their bayonets, trying for breathing room, brief individual duels developed”(Page 196). Right before the shooting Theodore Bliss, “experience mob member” (Page 197) asked Preston “Are they going to fire? ” (Page 197) as Preston responds “They cannot fire without my orders…by no means we plan to fire” (Page 198).

This is the final, and most important statement that is added into his main argument of the Boston Massacre was just an incident. He concludes his book by giving a fine detail on the aftermath of the massacre and the trail that each British solider face through chapters seventeen and twenty. Despite the Massacre being a great event to lead the colonist to fight back against the British, and then leading America to be independent, you cannot disagree with Zobel’s argument.

The British troops were more than enough taunted, threatened, and confused on how to handle the downright insane and huge numbers of the mob. So the fact shots were fired is almost completely understandable that a British solider could have thought, to hear the orders to fire. I totally agree with Zobel’s argument on the Boston Massacre, on how it was not a mass killing, and evil works form the British, but just a huge incident, that became propaganda.