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Murder Reform Essay Aqa

Just writing up some answers to the evaluation questions that I want to learn so I have a pre planned answer for each of the 3 potential questions that could come up.

I believe im right in saying that for a murder/voluntary manslaughter evaluation question requires

PCA - Murder (Criticisms)
PCB - Diminished Responsibility & Loss of Control (Criticisms of each)
PCC - Reforms

That's all fine, my only issue is how many points/paragraphs to write for each of the potential content, there is so much I could write about but bearing in mind ill have about 25 minutes to write it, I need to make sure I don't waffle on too much so want to go into the exam with a pre planned answer.

Just wrote an answer up quickly following this structure:

PARAGRAPH 1 - Murder General Criticism (Outdated language)

PARAGRAPH 2- Murder Criticism of Actus Reus (Reasonable Creature - foetus)

PARAGRAPH 3 - Murder Criticism of Mens Rea (Intention issues)

PARAGRAPH 4 - Murder Reforms (First/Second Degree Murder)

PARAGRAPH 5 - Diminished Responsibility Criticism (Burden of Proof)

PARAGRAPH 6 - Diminished Responsibility Strengths (Reforms C&J Act 09)

PARAGRAPH 7 - Loss of Control Criticism (Sexual Infidelity)

PARAGRAPH 8 - Loss of Control Strengths (C&J Act 09 - Provocation)


I wasn't really given any model answers or help on how to structure this particular question, so I would welcome any constructive advice on how to improve it. Im worried that ive possibly spent too much time discussing murder (3 criticisms - general/actus reus/mens rea) and not enough time criticising loss of control and diminished responsibility (only 1 criticism each - sexual infidelity/burden of proof). The essay takes up almost 4 sides of A4, so I cant really make it any longer, as I wont physically be able to write quick enough. I

f anybody has any sample answers or plans that they wouldn't mind sharing, or just general advice, that would be great... thanks!!!

Diminished responsibility was recently reformed in the Coroners & Justice Act 2009, placing an emphasis on medical evidence given by doctors, which allows for future medical developments. It also examines the extent to which D was affected by their mental illness, following the definition "substantially impaired" given in R v Byrne.

The defence is misused in euthanasia cases, because the courts tend to treat these cases sympathetically, as in R v Mawditt, where D was given a three year conditional discharge under diminished responsibility, despite him not suffering from a mental illness.

A reform for this would be to change the laws on euthanasia, so that cases would no longer be classified as murder.

Some cases have not allowed the defence despite there being overwhelming evidence in support of it, as in R v Sutcliffe, where three well-respected psychiatrists confirmed that D was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, but D was denied the defence and convicted of murder.

A reform for this would be to introduce a proper definition of what "substantially impaired" means, to make it harder for juries to misuse the law to achieve what they believe is 'moral' justice.