Murder & Manslaughter
“A long-established reputation as a market leader in the largest and most high-profile serious criminal cases.”
Murder and manslaughter fall within the wider definition of homicide. Murder is committed when a person of sound mind unlawfully kills another person and they have the intention to kill or to cause grievous bodily harm. A number of complete defences to murder exist, including self-defence, as well as partial defences, including diminished responsibility and loss of control.
Manslaughter can be either voluntary or involuntary. Examples of voluntary manslaughter include diminished responsibility and loss of control, the latter of which was introduced through the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 and replaced the old common law defence of provocation. Involuntary manslaughter applies where a person has caused the death of another but they have done so without the intention to kill or cause grievous bodily harm. Examples of involuntary manslaughter include gross negligence manslaughter, medical manslaughter and unlawful act manslaughter. The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, only the second such piece of legislation in the world to deal with corporate killings, introduced the new offence of corporate manslaughter, which makes it an offence for a qualifying organisation to cause a person’s death through a gross breach of a relevant duty of care owed by the organisation to the deceased.
In addition to the various legislative changes of the last decade, recent case law has led to some of the most significant developments in the law on murder. Perhaps the most significant of these is the 2016 Supreme Court case of R v Jogee  UKSC 8, which redefined the controversial doctrine of joint enterprise. In addition to these important legal developments, there is evidence of a shift in attitudes towards sentencing in murder cases, with calls for a more nuanced approach to replace the current mandatory life sentence. Whilst some of these recent developments have arguably been to the defendant’s advantage, it is clear that in cases concerning the death of another, there can be no compromise when it comes to representation.
BCL is recognised as a market leader in general and serious crime. We have extensive experience in representing individuals accused of the most serious offences and regularly act in cases involving allegations of murder and manslaughter. With strong links to the most experienced and sought after barristers and experts, we provide bespoke and specialist representation from the early stages of an investigation, through to the conclusion of the court process.
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