3.2.1 Manslaughter – Introduction

Welcome to the second lesson of the third topic in this module guide – Manslaughter!  Not all fatal offences against the person are regarded as equally culpable. A partial defence may apply, or there may not be the requisite mens rea necessary to mean that the homicide constitutes murder. The offences of voluntary and involuntary manslaughter act to cover these situations.

At the end of this section, you should be comfortable in defining the different types and applying the various rules of causation related to manslaughter. The section begins by defining the umbrella offence of manslaughter before delineating between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. The discussion goes deeper with regard to the second, explaining how the offence is split into Unlawful and Dangerous Act Manslaughter and Gross Negligence Manslaughter. The various elements of these offences are discussed at length before the chapter concludes with a discussion of the charging and sentencing of manslaughter.

Goals for this section:

  • To be able to define the various types of manslaughter.
  • To be able to apply the rules of causation in relation to the offences.

Objectives for this section:

  • To understand how non-fatal non-murder offences are defined and delineated between.
  • To know how murder may be reduced to voluntary manslaughter under one of three partial defences.
  • To define the two main types of involuntary manslaughter, and to be able to state the main elements of each offence. 
  • To be able to apply a range of rules relating to causation in these circumstances, including understanding how intervening acts may be affect this.

Start the Lecture

We have three lengths of lecture to suit varying study needs. Select one of the options below to get started (if you have already chosen a study level you will see the option highlighted in violet):

Summary Notes Standard Lecture Detailed Lecture

Problem Questions

Each lecture is also accompanied by hands on examples of problem questions for the subject. You can jump directly to the questions below:

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