chapter  71
8 Pages

Diminished Responsibility

ByIan H. Treasaden

Homicide is the killing of another human being. It may be lawful or unlawful. In the United Kingdom, the focus of this chapter, unlawful homicide includes both murder, an offense of common law defined as an unlawful killing with malice aforethought, that is, either with intent to kill or with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and also manslaughter. Manslaughter may be categorized into voluntary manslaughter, in which the defendant would be guilty of murder if not for the availability of a number of partial defenses, including diminished responsibility (Sections 52 and 53, Coroners and Justice Act 2009) (culpable homicide in Scotland), loss of control (previously provocation) (Section 54, Coroners and Justice Act 2009), and in pursuance of a suicide pact. Involuntary manslaughter refers to cases without malice aforethought, such as manslaughter by an unlawful act or gross negligence manslaughter. A third category is corporate manslaughter.