Strict liability
Strict liability

The following Corporate Crime guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Strict liability
  • Strict liability
  • Factors to be considered in determining whether a statutory offence is one of strict liability
  • Defences which are based on lack of intention
  • Sentencing for strict liability offences

Strict liability

When an offence does not require proof of a mental element it is an offence of strict liability. There are some common law offences of strict liability (eg public nuisance, outraging public decency and contempt) most though are statutory, arising often under regulatory provisions, eg the sale of food and drink, public health, and licensing. The fact that an offence is one of strict liability may:

  1. be expressly stated in the statute, or

  2. arise by necessary implication as the effect of the statute

Factors to be considered in determining whether a statutory offence is one of strict liability

Where it is not explicitly stated that an offence is one of strict liability, there is a legal presumption that a mental element has to be established before a person can be found guilty of the offen

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