Statutory Defences of Reasonableness: Inexcusable Uncertainty or Reasonable Pragmatism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


There are a number of criminal offences within the legal system of England and Wales where the defendant can rely on the reasonableness of his actions to exculpate conduct which otherwise would have attracted criminal liability. Criminal law theorists have tended to focus on the operation and scope of reasonable excuse. Public safety provides the clearest rationale for the employment of pseudo-criminal, regulatory offences. Since the coming into force of the Human Rights Act, the issue of reasonableness has almost exclusively been intertwined with Art of the ECHR. It has been suggested that an objective assessment of reasonableness is not within the defendant's knowledge. The lack of statutory guidance for courts serves only to add to the muddled analysis that has characterized much of the case law in both terrorism and public order cases. These statutes mollify their apparent regulatory harshness by the inclusion of the aforementioned reasonableness excuse.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGeneral Defences in Criminal Law Domestic and Comparative Perspectives
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISBN (Electronic)9781315584263
ISBN (Print)9781472433350
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2014


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