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Explain the difference between intention and recklessness in the criminal law, with reference to relevant cases.

F_PLa Assessment 2

Essay questions

Answer only ONE of the four questions.

Your answer should demonstrate evidence of research and your arguments should be supported with evidence and legal authority from a range of relevant sources.  

Sources should be from English law except where law from another jurisdiction provides a point of comparison or a persuasive precedent. 

Sources must be referenced using the OSCOLA referencing style. A statute list, case list and bibliography should be included.

Word Limit: 2,000 words (+/- 10%)

Weighting of Coursework: 50% of total marks


Question 1

‘A defence of lack of consideration rarely has merit.’

(Thoresen Car Ferries Ltd v Weymouth Portland Borough Council [1977] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 614 Donaldson J)

Explain what is meant by ‘consideration’ in the law of contract.

Question 2

Alan is an interior designer who has unfortunately hit a cash-flow crisis and needs to sell his expensive car, a classic E-type Jaguar.  Using the mail-merge facility on his computer, he sends out personalised letters to twenty of his richest clients saying that the car is for sale for £20,000.  (So recipients get a letter addressed to ‘Dear Brenda’, ‘Dear Chris’, etc.)  The letter is sent on Monday 25th April.

On Tuesday 26th April, Brenda phones Alan and says ‘I’ll take the car for £15,000.’ Alan says ‘let me think about it.’

On Wednesday 27th April, Chris leaves a message on Alan’s voicemail saying ‘I would like to buy the car.  Can I pay you £10,000 now and £10,000 next month?’  Alan leaves a message by reply on Chris’s voicemail saying ‘I need the whole £20,000 this month.  Do you want the car?  Please reply by the weekend.’  Chris replies on Friday 29th April, again with a message on Alan’s voicemail, saying ‘I will buy the car and pay you £20,000 by the end of the month.’ 

Owing to a malfunction on Alan’s voicemail, Alan does not hear this message and it is accidentally deleted.

Not having heard from Chris by Saturday lunchtime (as he thinks) and now desperate to make a sale, Alan rings Brenda at 2.00 pm that day and says ‘the car is yours for £15,000.’  Brenda says: ‘we have a deal.  I will collect the car tomorrow.’

On Sunday, 1st May, Brenda arrives to collect the car and Chris arrives with a cheque for £20,000.

Advise Alan as to whether he has a contract for the sale of the car with either Brenda or Chris or both.

Question 3

Explain the difference between intention and recklessness in the criminal law, with reference to relevant cases.

Question 4

Dennis is the owner of a caravan park.  Holiday-makers can hire a fixed caravan at the park for a period of time such as a week.  Edwina and her husband Felix have hired a caravan for one week in August.  Each caravan is fitted with a cooker fed from a large underground gas container.  The connection between the container and the cooker is meant to be checked at least once a week for health and safety reasons but Dennis has neglected to do this for the last two weeks.  One evening while Edwina and Felix are cooking their evening meal, the gas container explodes owing to a blowback through a faulty connection that Dennis had failed to detect.  Edwina is killed instantly in the explosion and Felix is seriously injured.

On the way to the nearest hospital, the ambulance carrying Felix has to swerve unexpectedly to avoid an oncoming motorcycle that is driving erratically.  The ambulance crashes into a tree and Felix subsequently dies from loss of blood.

Comment on the criminal liability, if any, of Dennis. 

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