August 27, 2008 The crime of manslaughter exists as a 'catch-all offence' to punish those who are blameworthy in causing the death of another but whose culpability falls short of that required for murder. Manslaughter is an extremely broad offence and it has a difficult task in ensuring that all those who warrant punishment for 'non-aggressive' deaths are convicted. Simultaneously, it should not be too broad in covering those who do not warrant punishment for such deaths. There is little consistency in whether a particular dangerous activity leads to liability for a specific offence or for the generic offence of manslaughter when death is caused. This new book, entitled “Criminal Liability for Non-Aggressive Death” examines the current law and includes a variety of perspectives on the subject with chapters on specific modes of killing as well as issues that permeate all areas.
The first half of the book deals with issues such as how any special offences for non-aggressive death should relate to a hierarchy of homicide offences. The second half deals with issues specific to different activities, which may or may not justify the creation of specific homicide offences.
Authors: Professor CMV Clarkson is Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Leicester. He is the author of successful textbooks on Criminal Law, and Conflict of Law. Dr Sally Cunningham is a Lecturer in Law at the University of Leicester.
David Ormerod of University of London, wrote of the new book: “This is a timely volume, following as it does a recent flurry of reform proposals in the field of homicide. Its aim is to consider whether the ancient offence of manslaughter may be too blunt an instrument to address such a variety of killings as is highlighted in this volume or whether specific statutory offences offer a preferable solution. The editors should be congratulated for bringing together commentators of such distinction, of such breadth of opinion and approach. The discussion ranges from the philosophical to the political, to the doctrinal. Each chapter offers a challenging analysis of some aspect of the current law. It should be read by anyone who is interested in the state of criminal homicide and in the prospects for reform.”