Murder and the Defence of Necessity
46 Pages Posted: 6 May 2008 Last revised: 23 Jun 2008
Date Written: June 22, 2008
This honours paper was supervised by Dr. Gregor Urbas. This article discusses the criminal law defence of necessity, as applied to a murder charge in Australian jurisdictions. In the article, I argue that necessity should be available as a complete statutory defence to murder in all Australian jurisdictions, if certain conditions are met. To reach this conclusion, I first analyse the state of the law of necessity across the Australian and UK jurisdictions, give reasons for the scope of the defence extending to murder cases (based on utilitarian and deontological theories) and finally provide a statutory framework for a uniform defence to a murder charge. The article makes use of real-life and hypothetical examples in order to demonstrate the practical effect of necessity applying to a murder charge in different situations.
Keywords: Criminal Law, Necessity, Murder, Duress, Utilitarianism, Deontology
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