Any Excuse for Certainty: English Perspectives on Defence of 'Reasonable Excuse'

Christopher Newman, Ben Middleton

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3 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the operation of the defence of reasonable excuse within the English legal system through the prism of two distinct offences—Terrorism Act 2000, s. 58 and Public Order Act 1986, s. 5. It is contended that legislative ambiguity in the drafting of these provisions has given the English judiciary excessive latitude in determining the scope of this defence, which has led to dangerous uncertainty in this area. The discussion draws upon recent jurisprudence in order to establish areas of commonality and highlight areas of inconsistency in judicial application. The authors conclude that legislative action by the UK Parliament is required, otherwise there will continue to be no clear understanding as to what constitutes a reasonable excuse within English law.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)472-486
Number of pages15
JournalThe Journal of Criminal Law
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2010

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