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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

December 20, 2005: Bringing the Law on Murder into the 21st Century

The Law Commission has published provisional proposals on the reform of the law on murder. According to the Commission, the current law on murder is a "mess", and the proposals provide an initial step in resolving many of the problems associated with it. The present consultation follows a report in August 2004 on Partial Defences to Murder  which recommended that a full review on the law of murder take place. The consultation builds on recommendations made in that earlier report.

Dr Jeremy Horder, the Commissioner leading the project, said:

"The law is not what the public thinks it is. It is confusing and unfair, and the judiciary have to adapt it to meet the needs of the 21st Century on a case-by-case basis. In undertaking this review we have not ruled anything out. We have recognised the need to re-structure the nature of murder offences, and our provisional proposals offer a ladder of offences, reflecting different degrees of culpability. I hope that people from all walks of life will take the time to read our proposals, and respond to the questions in the consultation paper."

The Commission is consulting on the structure of homicide offences, and the introduction of different degrees of culpability. They provisionally propose that there should be three tiers of homicide:

  • In the top tier would be cases where there is an intention to kill. This is the worst category and would retain the mandatory life sentence.
  • In the second tier would be cases of killing through reckless indifference to causing death and intention to do serious harm but not to kill. This tier would also include revised versions of provocation, diminished responsibility and duress. The sentence would depend on the details of the case.
  • In the third tier (manslaughter) would be cases of killing by gross negligence or intention to cause harm but not serious harm.

The Law Commission, which is a non-political independent body set up by Parliament in 1965 to keep the law of England and Wales under review, hopes that a broad range of people will read the Consultation Paper, and respond to their proposals. The consultation period will close on 13 April 2006. Final recommendations will be published in August 2006, and these will feed into a wider Government consultation on the public policy issues