Legal Morality

Actus Reus represents an illegal act within the England and Wales law. Felonious actions might differ in seriousness and degree since it may be anything grave, which entails the use of physical force like rape or something like fraud or theft. Though fraud and theft might be not as severe as rape, they are nonetheless incorporated in Actus Reus. In the England and Wales law, Actus Reus is considered to be formed by three broad approaches, which entail criminalities of inadvertence, the state of matters, and covert doings; an overt action represents an action committed by a certain body part. The statement denotes that if an individual who employs his/her body organ to undertake something felonious like using arms to fight someone, then the move will result in Actus Reus. In both Welsh and English laws, an inadvertence is applicable if anyone has miscarried in acting if there existed a legal obligation to act like in the case of R v Instan. The case is that of a law enforcer who witnessed a crime committed against an individual, but failed to interfere. As such, the law enforcer might be held accountable for the consequence of the offense as he/she neglected to uphold her/his constitutional duty. This case contains major components of Actus Reus.

The law of England and Wales agrees on the definition of a criminal act as a number of legal wrongdoings committed when a particular nature of things prevails or when the defendant is in a particular state. As such, the law indicates that a wrongdoing may be committed if an individual is in a certain state like drunk driving or the lack of necessary certificates. The role of morality within the law of Wales and England mainly revolves around Actus Reus of a crime. The following report, therefore, examines the role of morality regarding how Actus Reus of a crime may be formed. The report will similarly offer instances in England and Wales in which Actus Reus has been formed. Though most cases might appear to be not criminal, they were nonetheless regarded as illegal. Thus, the report provides an insight into the role of morality within the English and Welsh law.


Terms of Reference

Various terms of reference are pertinent to this report. However, the report concentrates on court cases and the issue of euthanasia. The references are essential as they provide the rationale of how morality influences the law in England and Wales. It is vital to note that both countries experience the same impact of morality in their legal systems and, hence, reference will be made concurrently. Several cases mentioned in the report include R v Instan, R (Pretty) v DPP, and R v Gibbins and Proctor. Euthanasia is also used alongside the cases to describe the role of morality in the two countries laws.

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Morality plays a significant role in how courts come to decisions on cases in England and Wales. Usually, most illegal acts transpire when an individual commits an action that targets other people with a wrong reason like pointing a weapon at a persons head with the intention of killing such person. Morality, however, ensures that there does not need to be a felonious doing since there exist things like wrongdoings of commission owing to omission. Wrongdoings of commission owing to omission in both countries are difficult to handle since it appears that an individual gets criminalized for a failure to act. Nevertheless, molarity ensures that such individuals may still be held accountable. An instance of such a wrongdoing would a passer-by seeing a person sinking in a river or a lake, but doing nothing to help this person. Molarity holds that such a person might be held responsible for the consequences of the situation as he/she did not offer any aid. These individuals are accountable for not assisting the person in trouble. This is ascertained by the case of R v Gibbins and Proctor.

In the stated case, Proctor and Gibbins were charged with the manslaughter of Gibbins young daughter by famishing her to death. The proof, in this instance, was more convincing against Proctor than Gibbins since Gibbins provided Proctor with money that was sufficient to cater for their and their childrens needs. It seems to be strange that Gibbins was charged alongside with Proctor as he offered Proctor money. However, with respect to morality, since he failed to act and care for the girl, he was held accountable for the actions of his associate who ignored his daughter. The impact of morality on the law is best described by the case of R v Instan. The case describes how morality prevailed in the situation when Actus Reus was formed. In the case, an individual failed to fulfill an obligation that had been taken voluntarily. In the stated case, Instan lived with her relative and was appropriately cared for by the aunt. At the time, the aunt was fit and capable of caring for herself and the accused despite being the senior age. During the period, both the defendant and the victim lived together and had no other relatives.

Unfortunately, the aunt fell sick and the niece ignored her and did not do anything to assist the woman. The defendant seized her aunts income and failed to provide the old lady with nourishment or medication. It was a period when the old lady was helpless and could not cater for herself because of her frailty. Additionally, Instan failed to notify their neighbors or anyone else about the state of the aunt so that they could get help and treatment despite having many chances to do it. The conviction might appear to be quite strange since Instan did not do anything. However, taking into consideration morality in this situation, the accused was held accountable as she had failed to help her aunt and did not offer her any assistance to cope with the disease. Moreover, she had failed to provide treatment for the old woman. The case has provided grounds for the conviction of defendants in similar cases when morality required people to act accordingly, but they failed to do that.

There exist situations when Actus Reus has been ruled after a careful evaluation of seemingly groundless accusations. In such cases, morality may conflict with the law as it lacks the basis to influence judgment. Such an instance is evident in the case of Hogg v Macpherson in which the defendant was a carter of a horse-driven van when it was blown over by strong wind, thus making the van fall on a streetlight and break it. Under the law in force at the time, the accused was obliged to remunerate reparations irrespective of whether an accident or negligence caused it. However, it was ruled that the accused was helpless at the moment. It seemed to be absurd to charge the accused irrespective of the situation, which is why it did not result in Actus Reus.

The impact of morality on the Welsh and English law can be evident with respect to euthanasia. There exist various opinions whether it is wrong or right to deprive the person of life. The respective law is impacted by morality and, as such, its impact on individuals lives is relevant. In both countries, euthanasia has set the grounds for deliberating on the extent to which the law should and does enforce moral values. The case of R (Pretty) v DPP is the one that has evoked mixed views in the country since the individual has opted for death as a preferred option in the case.


In conclusion, there exists a close relationship between morality and the law as the law upholds moral values in some cases though the extent to which morality should impact the law remains undetermined. There are many ways how Actus Reus may be formed. The main ways include crimes of omission, the state of affairs, and overt acts. Instances have arisen when molarity prevailed in case there seemed to be the lack of sufficient evidence to undertake litigations. Euthanasia has also presented a challenge, particularly with respect to how individuals decide in such cases. The challenge, therefore, lies between morality, the law, and a person's choice. This report recommends that though morality may influence certain applications of the law, justice should prevail. Some instances are beyond the reach of individuals like calamities and natural disasters and charging people on that basis is morally questionable.

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