Physical Elements (Actus Reus)

This page includes capsules that address the physical elements of offences. A few caveats!

  1. Needless to say, this is not legal advice.  It is designed to provide introductory explanations of certain topics in criminal law.
  2. These materials were designed for my students taking part in my criminal law class- as such they are NOT supposed to be comprehensive or exhaustive of the subject.
  3. They were made with time constraints in mind.  There are errors throughout, and though I feel confident about the product generally, I did not attempt to correct every mistake made.  The goal was to put a good product together in a short period of time.
  4. Often, in the interests of time, certain points are generalized.  This doesn’t mean they’re “wrong”, but nuances are often fleshed out in the course materials or in class.  Rather than include caveats with every sentence, I sometimes make broad generalizations even though I’m aware there might be exceptions that can occasionally arise.  Again, the goal is to promote a generalized understanding that provides a platform for deeper learning.
  5. I will heartily disavow any attempt to rely upon these in conflict with another Professor, judge, lawyer, etc.  Thus, anyone who says “yes, but Professor Sankoff said X”… will receive no support from me!  Especially where exams are concerned, it is always good practice to follow your Professor’s view of the law.  If this material helps you, by all means use it, but do so with care.

Criminal Law Capsule – Causation: Practical Elements – November 2014

In this capsule, I explore the manner in which causation is actually utilized in the criminal courts, and explain why it may not be quite as prominent a doctrine as it seems when we discuss its detailed nuances in class.  In reality, causation is a doctrine that arises fairly infrequently, and that’s simply because of some practical realities that I explore in this capsule.

 

Criminal Law Capsule – Omissions and Duties – January 2015

In this capsule, I look at the relationship between punishable omissions and the way various duties are imposed.  It is designed not to provide a comprehensive look at omissions, but rather to explain the nuances of what makes particular omissions potentially liable.

This material has taken considerable time and effort to produce.  I ask only two things in return.  First, if you like these capsules – pass them on.  The primary objective here is to share a deeper understanding for the subject areas I love most.  Second, if any of this was in any way useful, I urge you to let me know.  A short note at psankoff@ualberta.ca, or a comment (below), or even a “like”, would really make my day!

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