An investigation into how justifiable it is to punish gross negligence manslaughter in the criminal law

Pilkington, Krystina H. (2013). An investigation into how justifiable it is to punish gross negligence manslaughter in the criminal law. University of Birmingham. M.Jur.

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The following thesis is an investigation into whether it is justifiable to punish deaths resulting from gross negligence within the criminal law. The analysis centres around incidents of gross negligence manslaughter that arise in a medical setting as a majority of the leading cases in the area arose in this context. The findings are then applied to incidents of gross negligence manslaughter arising in different contexts in an attempt to assess the validity of punishing such acts.

An assessment of the harm principle takes place in order to establish whether acts of negligence, particularly gross negligence manslaughter, are rightfully considered morally blameworthy by the criminal law. This assessment is supplemented by an in-depth analysis of the legal test applied to establish criminal culpability for the offence. Thought is then given to exploring whether society stands to gain anything from inflicting punishment for the offence.

There are four main findings derived from the analysis that takes place. Primarily, it is argued that those who are negligent when acting in a professional position or when performing in a position of responsibility are actors who are morally blameworthy for the results of their actions. Secondly, that the legal test applied is effective in establishing those who should be seen as criminally culpable, as well as morally culpable. Thirdly, that society stands to gain from punishing the criminally culpable negligent actor. Fourthly, that negligence committed by those who are not holding themselves out as a competent individual is not justifiably punishable.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Jur.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Jur.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: Birmingham Law School
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
K Law > KD England and Wales


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