Mens rea

related topics
{law, state, case}
{theory, work, human}
{rate, high, increase}
{@card@, make, design}
{car, race, vehicle}

Mens rea is Latin for "guilty mind".[1] In criminal law, it is viewed as one of the necessary elements of a crime. The standard common law test of criminal liability is usually expressed in the Latin phrase, actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea, which means "the act does not make a person guilty unless the mind be also guilty". Thus, in jurisdictions with due process, there must be an actus reus accompanied by some level of mens rea to constitute the crime with which the defendant is charged (see the technical requirement of concurrence). The Criminal Law does not usually apply to a person who has acted with the absence of mental fault; this is the general rule.

The exception is strict liability crimes (in the civil law, it is not usually necessary to prove a subjective mental element to establish liability, say for breach of contract or a tort, although if intentionally committed, this may increase the measure of damages payable to compensate the plaintiff as well as the scope of liability).

Therefore, mens rea simply refers to the mental element of the offence that accompanies the actus reus. In some jurisdictions the terms mens rea and actus reus have been superseded by alternative terminology. In Australia for example the elements of all federal offences are now designated as "fault elements" (mens rea) and "physical element" (actus reus). This terminology was adopted in order to replace the obscurity of the Latin terms with simple and accurate phrasing.[2]

Contents

Full article ▸

related documents
Res ipsa loquitur
Deposition (law)
Tom Denning, Baron Denning
Right of self-defense
Vexatious litigation
Expert witness
Romer v. Evans
Fatwā
State supreme court
Advocate
European Court of Justice
Punitive damages
Statute of frauds
Pleading
Mutiny
Leonard Peltier
Civil procedure
Citation signal
Indemnity
Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
Mumia Abu-Jamal
United States Marshals Service
Will (law)
Adversarial system
Plea bargain
Government of California
Interrogatories
Defense of Marriage Act
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Baker v. Vermont