Criminal Law and Public Law

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Q. 6. HS2 Act of Parliament

The HS2 case [R (HS2 Action Alliance Ltd) v. Secretary of State for Transport (HS2)] of the year 2010 was proposed by the UK Government, as per which a high-speed rail network would be constructed to create a link between London, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham. This structure would then be identified as “the largest infrastructure project” of the country after the railways was designed during 19th century (Elliott, 2014, p. 381). Although a majority of such decisions are made by the administrative bodies, in this case, the government was responsible for stating the permission based on the UK legislations, with the enactment of a hybrid bill. The passing of this bill proved to be affecting the functioning of the domestic authorities, who challenged its usage based on their belief that it would prove ineffective in meeting the decision-making requisites of the European Union’s Environmental Impact Directive. In due course of actions, the hybrid bill and its arguments were declined by the Supreme Court (Elliott, 2014). 

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The issue of HS2 comprises three different perspectives of the constitutional scenario to demonstrate the varied attributes of the UK constitution. One of the facts is that that it identifies the distinctions between constitutional as well as ordinary legislation from the legal point of view, which was once considered to be beyond the thought-process of the British. On the other hand, HS2 specified that the constitutional legislation and the principles of the past will be prioritised hierarchically in the present era to clearly portray the manner in which and the extent to which the law of EU dominated the constitutional powers of the UK. Lastly, the judgements made for the case of HS2 is regarded as a smaller segment of the senior judiciary of the UK. This segment therefore focuses primarily on the inclusion of parliamentary sovereignty in the rich framework of the UK’s constitution. The significance of the Supreme Court’s judgement is mostly reliant on the consideration of whether the process of the bill adhered to the EU standards. The level of significance was augmented with the backing up of the concerned issue by the cases of A v. BBC, Osborn v. Parole Board and Kennedy v. Charity Commission.

Conclusively, it can be stated that the statutes of the HS2 act ensures a regular monitoring of the UK constitution’s parliamentary sovereignty based on its political views. It has also been inferred that the EU standards have an immense level of impact on the legislative policies and political aspects related to the UK constitution. 

Q. 7. Difference between ‘Normative-Hierarchical’ and a ‘Flat’ Understanding of the UK Constitution 

Flat understanding refers to the standard procedure of analysing the UK constitution as proposed by Dicey, as per which all acts are equal from the legal perspective. Moreover, the individual legislations are also considered to be largely significant, irrespective of their level of practical superiority aligned with the limited presence of constitutional statutes. In contrast, the Normative-Hierarchical understanding signifies the concept of constitutional doctrines, which are diverse in relation to its constitutional statutes. It also implies the level of constitutional fundamentality that is required to attain as a function of constitutional array, which is largely different from the significance as mentioned in the legislative instruments (Elliott, 2014). 

HS2 is the foremost instance of an act that primarily depends upon the significance of Normative-Hierarchical understanding in terms of constitutional principles, which in turn verifies the constitutional attributes of legislation. The detection of the common-law rights along with the legislation of the UK constitution and their protection as well acts as per the vision of normative-hierarchy. Conversely, the views of Diceyan orthodoxy consider the similar endeavour with a completely different approach. The Flat understanding considers the views of Normative-Hierarchy as immensely aggressive in dealing with the principle of parliamentary sovereignty. This understanding also mentions about the absence of factors in the cases such as HS2 that can help in determining the importance of the constitutional arrangement in depicting its resistance to the legislative disorder (Elliott, 2014). 

Hence, it can be stated that the difference between the Flat and Normative-Hierarchical understanding depends upon the constitutional as well as ordinary statutes for replicating the potential transformations of the UK constitutional structure in the future period of time. 

Q. 13. Case of John and Madjur

As stated in this case, it can be found that John had a connection with Gonzo, a drug dealer as they had traded drugs among themselves in the past. In-spite of the fact that Madjur was not interested in the discussion between John and Gonzo, when they were approached by Gonzo outside a night-club, they were forced to purchase some heroin. However, she successfully escaped from the scene and watched the activities taking place between both them from distance. Once Gonzo had left the spot, she ran to John and found that he was not in a good health. When asked about the reason, he stated that he had already taken heroin in the evening, for which he was not feeling well and fell down on the road. John, then asked Madjur to leave him there and return home. He also asked her not to share this incident with anyone and she did so. Unfortunately, the next morning she received the news of John’s death due to overdose of heroin.

In this case, the defendant is considered to be Madjur, who was present with the deceased party at the time, when the drug dealer was interacting with John, just the last evening. However, she did not complain the incident that happened with her and even about the drug dealings between Gonzo and John to the authorized members, which clearly portrays that she was liable for John’s death due to heroin overdose. This issue comes under the law of ‘manslaughter by an unlawful and dangerous act’, as Madjur had intentionally kept the entire activities secret, which is unacceptable from the legal perspective. The case of R v Kennedy [2007] UKHL 38, [2008] 1 AC 269 provides a backup for this case, as in this case also, the defendant was found injecting drugs into his body, the overdose of which had led to his death (Merritt, 2009). Similarly, Madjur was found to have committed a serious convict by not informing the legal bodies about Gonzo, which means that she had herself participated in the unlawful activity of dealing with drugs. Furthermore, she had also left John in a collapsed condition on the street at that time of the night, instead of seeking for some medical help. This clearly depicts her escapist nature and can hence be accused of breaching the duty of care (Merritt, 2009; Lanham, 2006). 

Majdur can defend herself from this case by stating that the death of John was coincidental and by claiming that she had no idea about his intoxication or regarding the seriousness of his ill health. Moreover, she needs to prove the point that John’s death was an accidental case and there was nothing strange about it. Therefore, she cannot be held liable for the overdose of heroin and the sudden death of John by collapsing on the street after meeting the drug dealer, Gonzo and hence it was not a planned and deliberately performed crime (Law Reform Commission, 2008). This can be effectively understood from the law stated under section 23(2) (Qld) as well as 23(1) (WA), “Unless the intention to cause a particular result is expressly declared to be an element of the offence constituted, in whole or part, by an act or omission, the result intended to be caused by an act or omission is immaterial” (Hemming, 2015). 

Q. 14. The Case of R v Evans (Gemma) [2009] EWCA (Crim) 650, [2009] 2 Cr App R 10

The stated case has been judged considering the law related to Gross Negligence Manslaughter, being tested in the stage of prevailing ‘duty of care to the deceased’. In this case, it can be found that both Andrea Townsend (defendant) and Carly Townsend (deceased) were involved in similar illegal activity of heroin addiction. Moreover, it had been found that Carly had injected the drug and had expired in the presence of the defendant. It was also highlighted that the reason was found to be heroin poisoning. Moreover, the jury had also stated that the appellant could understand that Carly was showing symptoms of drug overdose, which she deeply appreciated (Wordwave International Ltd., 2009). Understanding the point of all the individuals associated with the case and the fact that the deceased was already within the bindings of legal curfew, it can be evaluated that the issue was significant enough to be considered by the Court of Criminal Appeal.

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The case of R v Evans can be backed up by that of R v. Wacker [2002] EWCA Crim 1944, [2003] QB 1207, [2003] 2 WLR 374, [2003] 1 Cr App R 22, as per which a death caused as a result of some positive intention is considered an instance of duty of care, especially in cases where an individual involved in a criminal activity tries to safeguard another person engaged in the same deed from getting caught (McBrides Guides, 2014). Similar incident was also inferred in the case of R v Willoughby [2005] 1 WLR 188, where the death of the criminal while performing an unlawful action was considered a case of duty of care for his partners in crime (Jepson, 2009). The two cases as stated above provides a clear view of the reasons that the court considers for adopting the legal approach of ‘duty of care’ for dealing with the case of R v Evans. Moreover, the fact that the defendant even after knowing that Carly was on curfew and was supposed to stay away from heroin, had supplied her with drugs. The overdose of this drug had led to her death.

Therefore, it can be concluded that the issuance of ‘duty of care’ in this case of Evans Green was completely justified and the punishments and penalties to the defendant could be offered based on this approach. Correspondingly, the problem raised in this case could be effectively resolved in this manner as well. 

Did you like this sample?
  1. Elliott, M., 2014. Constitutional Legislation, European Union Law and the Nature of the United Kingdom’s Contemporary Constitution. European Constitutional Law Review, Vol. 10, pp. 379–392
  2. Hemming, A., 2015. Criminal Law Guidebook: Queensland and Western Australia. Oxford Law Guidebooks, pp.1-17.
  3. Jepson, P., 2009. Regina v Evans (Gemma) EWCA Crim 650. Court of Appeal, pp. 1-14.
  4. Lanham, D., 2006. Criminal Laws in Australia. Federation Press.
  5. Law Reform Commission, 2008. Homicide: Murder and Involuntary Manslaughter, Report, pp. 1-121. 
  6. McBrides Guides, 2014. Manslaughter: duty of care. R v. Wacker [2002] EWCA Crim 1944, [2003] QB 1207, [2003] 2 WLR 374, [2003] 1 Cr App R 22, pp. 1-2.
  7. Merritt, J., 2009. Law for Student Police Officers. Learning Matters.
  8. Wordwave International Ltd., 2009. R v Evans. EWCA Crim 650, pp. 1-10.
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