chapter  6
Pages 32

In the years immediately following the 1981 Act, the courts tended to refer back to some of the common law tests (which were not expressly excluded by the 1981 Act and so had persuasive value). Hence, in Widdowson (1986) 82 Cr App R 314, the Court of Appeal adopted Lord Diplock’s ‘Rubicon’ test formulated in DPP v Stonehouse [1978] AC 55 as representing the law under the Act. Lord Diplock had said:

‘Acts that are merely preparatory to the commission of the offence, such as, in the instant case, the taking out of insurance policies are not sufficiently proximate to constitute an attempt. They do not indicate a fixed irrevocable intention to go on to commit the complete offence unless involuntarily prevented from doing so. [D] must have crossed the Rubicon and burnt his boats.’