Malice (law)

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Malice is a legal term referring to a party's intention to do injury to another party. Malice is either expressed or implied. Malice is expressed when there is manifested a deliberate intention to unlawfully take away the life of a human being. Malice is implied when no considerable provocation appears, or when the circumstances attending the killing show an abandoned and malignant heart. [1] Malice, in a legal sense, may be inferred from the evidence and imputed to the defendant, depending on the nature of the case.

Injury Physiological wound caused by an external source

Injury, also known as physical trauma, is damage to the body caused by external force. This may be caused by accidents, falls, hits, weapons, and other causes. Major trauma is injury that has the potential to cause prolonged disability or death.

In law, the principle of imputation or attribution underpins the concept that ignorantia juris non excusat—ignorance of the law does not excuse. All laws are published and available for study in all developed states. The content of the law is imputed to all persons who are within the jurisdiction, no matter how transiently.

Defendant Accused person

A defendant is a person accused of committing a crime in criminal prosecution or a person against whom some type of civil relief is being sought in a civil case.

In many kinds of cases, malice must be found to exist in order to convict. (For example, malice is an element of the crime of arson in many jurisdictions.) In civil law cases, a finding of malice allows for the award of greater damages, or for punitive damages. The legal concept of malice is most common in Anglo-American law, and in legal systems derived from the English common law system.

Arson crime of willfully and maliciously setting fire to property

Arson is the crime of willfully and maliciously setting fire to or charring property. Though the act typically involves buildings, the term arson can also refer to the intentional burning of other things, such as motor vehicles, watercraft, or forests. The crime is typically classified as a felony, with instances involving a greater degree of risk to human life or property carrying a stricter penalty. A common motive for arson is to commit insurance fraud. In such cases, a person destroys their own property by burning it and then lies about the cause in order to collect against their insurance policy.

Civil law is a branch of the law. In common law legal systems such as England and Wales, the law of Pakistan and the law of the United States, the term refers to non-criminal law. The law relating to civil wrongs and quasi-contracts is part of the civil law, as is law of property. Civil law may, like criminal law, be divided into substantive law and procedural law. The rights and duties of persons amongst themselves is the primary concern of civil law. It is often suggested that civil proceedings are taken for the purpose of obtaining compensation for injury, and may thus be distinguished from criminal proceedings, whose purpose is to inflict punishment. However, exemplary damages or punitive damages may be awarded in civil proceedings. It was also formerly possible for common informers to sue for a penalty in civil proceedings.

At common law, damages are a remedy in the form of a monetary award to be paid to a claimant as compensation for loss or injury. To warrant the award, the claimant must show that a breach of duty has caused foreseeable loss. To be recognised at law, the loss must involve damage to property, or mental or physical injury; pure economic loss is rarely recognised for the award of damages.

In English civil law (being the law of England and Wales), relevant case law in negligence and misfeasance in a public office includes Dunlop v. Woollahra Municipal Council [1982] A.C. 158; Bourgoin S.A. v. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food [1986] Q.B. 716; Jones v Swansea City Council [1990] 1 WLR 1453; Three Rivers District Council and Others v Governor and Company of The Bank of England, [2000] [2] and Elguzouli-Daf v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [1995] 2 QB 335, in which Steyn LJ. found that malice could be made out if the acts were done with an actual intention to cause injury. Malice could be shown if the acts were done in the knowledge of invalidity or lack of power and with knowledge that it would cause or be likely to cause injury. Malice would also exist if the acts were done with reckless indifference or deliberate blindness to that invalidity or lack of power and that likely injury. These elements, with respect, are consistent with the views of the majority albeit that some of those views were expressed tentatively having regard to the basis upon which the case before them was presented.

English law Legal system of England and Wales

English law is the common law legal system of England and Wales, comprising mainly criminal law and civil law, each branch having its own courts and procedures.

Negligence is a failure to exercise appropriate and or ethical ruled care expected to be exercised amongst specified circumstances. The area of tort law known as negligence involves harm caused by failing to act as a form of carelessness possibly with extenuating circumstances. The core concept of negligence is that people should exercise reasonable care in their actions, by taking account of the potential harm that they might foreseeably cause to other people or property.

In English criminal law on mens rea (Latin for "guilty mind"), R v. Cunningham (1957) 2 AER 412 was the pivotal case in establishing both that the test for "maliciously" was subjective rather than objective, and that malice was inevitably linked to recklessness. In that case, a man released gas from the mains into adjoining houses while attempting to steal money from the pay-meter:

Mens rea is the mental element of a person's intention to commit a crime; or knowledge that one's action or lack of action would cause a crime to be committed. It is a necessary element of many crimes.

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

In criminal law and in the law of tort, recklessness may be defined as the state of mind where a person deliberately and unjustifiably pursues a course of action while consciously disregarding any risks flowing from such action. Recklessness is less culpable than intentional wickedness, but is more blameworthy than careless behaviour.

In any statutory definition of a crime, malice must be taken ... as requiring either:

  1. an actual intention to do the particular kind of harm that in fact was done; or
  2. recklessness as to whether such harm should occur or not (i.e. the accused has foreseen that the particular kind of harm might be done and yet has gone on to take the risk of it).

Lord Diplock confirmed the relationship to recklessness in R v Mowatt (1968) 1 QB 421:

In the offence under section 20 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861, the word "maliciously" does import upon the part of the person who unlawfully inflicts the wound or other grievous bodily harm an awareness that his act may have the consequence of causing some physical harm to some other person ... It is quite unnecessary that the accused should have foreseen that his unlawful act might cause physical harm of the gravity described in the section, i.e. a wound or serious physical injury. It is enough that he should have foreseen that some physical harm to some person, albeit of a minor character, might result.

Grievous bodily harm is a term used in English criminal law to describe the severest forms of assault. It refers to two offences that are respectively created by sections 18 and 20 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861. The distinction between these two sections is the requirement of specific intent for section 18; the offence under section 18 is variously referred to as "wounding with intent" or "causing grievous bodily harm with intent", whereas the offence under section 20 is variously referred to as "unlawful wounding", "malicious wounding" or "inflicting grievous bodily harm".

In the United States, the malice standard was set in the Supreme Court case of New York Times Co. v. Sullivan , allowing free reporting of the civil rights movement. The malice standard decides whether press reports about a public figure can be considered defamation or libel.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.

New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964), was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the freedom of speech protections in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution restrict the ability of American public officials to sue for defamation. Specifically, it held that if a plaintiff in a defamation lawsuit is a public official or person running for public office, not only must he or she prove the normal elements of defamation—publication of a false defamatory statement to a third party—he or she must also prove that the statement was made with "actual malice", meaning that the defendant either knew the statement was false or recklessly disregarded whether or not it was true.

Civil rights movement Social movement in the United States during the 20th century

The civil rights movement in the United States was a decades-long struggle with the goal of enforcing constitutional and legal rights for African Americans that white Americans already enjoyed. With roots that dated back to the Reconstruction era during the late 19th century, the movement achieved its largest legislative gains in the mid-1960s, after years of direct actions and grassroots protests that were organized from the mid-1950s until 1968. Encompassing strategies, various groups, and organized social movements to accomplish the goals of ending legalized racial segregation, disenfranchisement, and discrimination in the United States, the movement, using major nonviolent campaigns, eventually secured new recognition in federal law and federal protection for all Americans.

See also

Related Research Articles

An assault is the act of inflicting physical harm or unwanted physical contact upon a person or, in some specific legal definitions, a threat or attempt to commit such an action. It is both a crime and a tort and, therefore, may result in either criminal and/or civil liability. Generally, the common law definition is the same in criminal and tort law.

Battery is a criminal offense involving unlawful physical contact, distinct from assault which is the act of creating apprehension of such contact.

In criminal law, criminal negligence is a surrogate mens rea required to constitute a conventional as opposed to strict liability offense. It is not, strictly speaking, a mens rea because it refers to an objective standard of behaviour expected of the defendant and does not refer to their mental state.

Tortious interference, also known as intentional interference with contractual relations, in the common law of torts, occurs when one person intentionally damages someone else's contractual or business relationships with a third party causing economic harm. As an example, someone could use blackmail to induce a contractor into breaking a contract, or they could obstruct someone's ability to honor a contract with a client by deliberately refusing to deliver necessary goods.

<i>Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee</i>

Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee [1957] 1 WLR 582 is an English tort law case that lays down the typical rule for assessing the appropriate standard of reasonable care in negligence cases involving skilled professionals : the Bolam test. Where the defendant has represented him- or herself as having more than average skills and abilities, that is as a professional "as all doctors do", this test expects standards which must be in accordance with a responsible body of opinion, even if others differ in opinion. In other words, the Bolam test states that "If a doctor reaches the standard of a responsible body of medical opinion, he is not negligent".

In criminal law, intent is a subjective state of mind that must accompany the acts of certain crimes to constitute a violation. A more formal, generally synonymous legal term is scienter: intent or knowledge of wrongdoing.

Common assault was an offence under the common law of England, and has been held now to be a statutory offence in England and Wales. It is committed by a person who causes another person to apprehend the immediate use of unlawful violence by the defendant. It was thought to include battery but it does not. In England and Wales, the penalty and mode of trial for this offence is now provided section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988, and it has been held that the offence should be alleged as contrary to the statute because of this. It was also held that common assault and battery are two distinct offences, so that a charge that the accused "assaulted and battered" another person would be bad for duplicity.

In English criminal law, intention is one of the types of mens rea that, when accompanied by an actus reus, constitutes a crime.

Murder is an offence under the common law of England and Wales. It is considered the most serious form of homicide, in which one person kills another with the intention to cause either death or serious injury unlawfully. The element of intentionality was originally termed malice aforethought although it required neither malice nor premeditation.

In the English law of homicide, manslaughter is a less serious offence than murder, the differential being between levels of fault based on the mens rea or by reason of a partial defence. In England and Wales, the usual practice is to prefer a charge of murder, with the judge or defence able to introduce manslaughter as an option. The jury then decides whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty of either murder or manslaughter. On conviction for manslaughter, sentencing is at the judge's discretion, whereas a sentence of life imprisonment is mandatory on conviction for murder. Manslaughter may be either voluntary or involuntary, depending on whether the accused has the required mens rea for murder.

Manslaughter is a common law legal term for homicide considered by law as less culpable than murder. The distinction between murder and manslaughter is sometimes said to have first been made by the ancient Athenian lawmaker Draco in the 7th century BC.

Criminal damage in English law

In English law, causing criminal damage was originally a common law offence. The offence was largely concerned with the protection of dwellings and the food supply, and few sanctions were imposed for damaging personal property. Liability was originally restricted to the payment of damages by way of compensation.

English criminal law

English criminal law concerns offences, their prevention and the consequences, in England and Wales. Criminal conduct is considered to be a wrong against the whole of a community, rather than just the private individuals affected. The state, in addition to certain international organisations, has responsibility for crime prevention, for bringing the culprits to justice, and for dealing with convicted offenders. The police, the criminal courts and prisons are all publicly funded services, though the main focus of criminal law concerns the role of the courts, how they apply criminal statutes and common law, and why some forms of behaviour are considered criminal. The fundamentals of a crime are a guilty act and a guilty mental state. The traditional view is that moral culpability requires that a defendant should have recognised or intended that they were acting wrongly, although in modern regulation a large number of offences relating to road traffic, environmental damage, financial services and corporations, create strict liability that can be proven simply by the guilty act.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and introduction to tort law:

Non-fatal offences against the person, under English law, are generally taken to mean offences which take the form of an attack directed at another person, that do not result in the death of any person. Such offences where death occurs are considered homicide, whilst sexual offences are generally considered separately, since they differ substantially from other offences against the person in theoretical basis and composition. Non-fatal offences against the person mainly derive from the Offences against the Person Act 1861, although no definition of assault or battery is given there.

English law contains homicide offences – those acts involving the death of another person. For a crime to be considered homicide, it must take place after the victim's legally recognised birth, and before their legal death. There is also the usually uncontroversial requirement that the victim be under the "Queen's peace". The death must be causally linked to the actions of the defendant. Since the abolition of the year and a day rule, there is no maximum time period between any act being committed and the victim's death, so long as the former caused the latter.

South African criminal law is the body of national law relating to crime in South Africa. In the definition of Van der Walt et al, a crime is "conduct which common or statute law prohibits and expressly or impliedly subjects to punishment remissible by the state alone and which the offender cannot avoid by his own act once he has been convicted." Crime involves the infliction of harm against society. The function or object of criminal law is to provide a social mechanism with which to coerce members of society to abstain from conduct that is harmful to the interests of society.

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