AQA LAW03 Critical Analysis: Murder - Reform Proposals | tutor2u Law

AQA LAW03 Critical Analysis: Murder - Reform Proposals

With critical analysis you must discuss the criticisms, describe the proposals for reforms and show if/how these might reduce or eliminate those criticisms. This is how you might use the reform.


One criticism of murder relates to intention. Some argue that the mens rea should be intention to kill only, rather than including the implied malice of intention to cause grievous bodily harm.

Some argue this is too wide, while others argue it's not wide enough and that recklessness should be included too.


The Law Commission has proposed first degree murder that would include killing intentionally and killing where there was an intention to do serious injury, coupled with an awareness of a serious risk of causing death.


This would be a narrower version of the current mens rea, so would reduce criticism from those who say the law is too wide. However, it would not eliminate criticism as some say it is too narrow already.


Some would argue that the mandatory sentence for murder is a criticism. For instance, Cox (R v Cox 1992) would get the same conviction and therefore sentence as Brady or Hindley. However, judges have tariffs from the Criminal Justice Act 2003 c.44 Sch. 21 that outlines the minimum terms for life.


The Law Commission has proposed a tiered structure, with a mandatory life sentence for first degree murder, and a discretionary sentence for second degree.


This would allow more flexibility, although would not have affected the sentence in the above case of Cox.

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