Fault Essay- Law A2

1890 Words8 Pages
Fault Essay The Oxford dictionary states that “fault” can mean an imperfection of character, responsibility, or blame. The legal understanding of fault focuses predominantly on blame, as someone must be held accountable for a loss. The role of fault varies from essential to unimportant across different areas of English law. An example of fault being used in the law is the Mens Rea requirement in s.18 OAPA. This requires specific intention, which shows that the D must have been culpable voluntarily. Regarding its role in civil law, it is essential to prove fault in some areas, but not in others. For example proving fault is crucial for a successful claim in negligence. Here, fault is tested in breach, which states that D is at fault if they do not act like the ordinary, sensible individual. For example, the defendant in Paris V Stepney BC was at fault by failing to provide protective goggles when the ordinary, prudent employer would have. The opposite was true in Bolton V Stone however, when D was not at fault when it was stated that the ordinary, prudent cricket club would not have spent money on a tall fence. Fault is also essential in contributory negligence: where the claimant is partly responsible for the damage he suffers, the damages recoverable shall be reduced in proportion to the claimant’s share in responsibility. The amount of damages the claimant is able to claim therefore depends on their fault. The role of fault also varies in criminal law. Fault is integral to the Actus Reus element of a crime. In order to be found guilty of a criminal offence, the defendant must commit the Actus Reus voluntarily. If the accused is not in control of his or her actions for any reason, then they cannot be said to be acting voluntarily, so is not at fault. Criminal defences such as automatism and duress will result in an acquittal as they prove that the D did not act
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