Introduction In this self-reflection, I will be considering

Introduction

In
this self-reflection, I will be considering areas of success and improvements
to be made in my essay, which evaluated the impact of the House of Lord’s
decision in Kennedy (No2)1.
My essay can be improved by including more academic commentary, case laws and
improving areas with further evaluation. Overall, I was not pleased with my
essay but my feedback has enabled me to reflect on my weaknesses. 

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Strengths

My
feedback states that I had a strong introduction, which engaged the reader to
my essay, it briefly outlined the details of the case and definitions of
terminology, I would use a similar outline. I had illustrated a deep
understanding of the judgement of the case and the arguments presented,
demonstrating my knowledge on the subject matter. My essay includes some
evidence of critical thinking, which can be further developed upon.

 

Areas of improvement

To
improve my essay, I need to use subtitles, to help the clarity of my essay for
a better presentation of my judgement. I could have referred to the existence
of free will in drug case law and discussed foreseeability with academic
commentary outlining the significance of these factors.

 

For
improvement, I should expand on the argument of Hart and Honoré2
about “the free, deliberate and informed intervention” of Bosque, breaking the
chain of causation. I should include the judgement of Higgins and Tatham3
who argue that the deceased chose to inject himself and had awareness of his
act. This supports the idea of bodily autonomy and free will in autonomous
beings. Undertaking the essay again, I would challenge the existence of free
will in drug cases, by linking this to R v Khan4,
involving a 15 year old who voluntarily injected heroin. Jones5
states that “her assumption of risk was at the borderline of voluntariness”,
the suppliers of the drug were more educated, highlighting their economic
motivation. Thus, Khan’s awareness of the repercussions can be questioned. This
develops my point about the extent of free will in drug addicts’ cases.

 

My
discussion on foreseeability was limited; for improvement I would include
different arguments. For example Norrie6 suggests that an approach of
common sense is necessary to assess the actions of the victim and the supply of
drugs is linked to ultimate death. In R v Finlay7,
the chain of causation was not broken by self-injection, as the outcome of
supplication of drugs is foreseeable, resulting in the death of the victim. However,
foreseeability is being interpreted too broadly in Finlay. A counter argument
against foreseeability will strengthen my essay. Cherkassy8
claims “causation and foreseeability were almost impossible to apply in a way
that would be analogous to well established cases”, showing there is
inconsistency in the application of causation. This questions if a reasonable
person can foresee the implications of supplying drugs. It is foreseeable that
the drug addicts will take drugs, irrespective to the supplier, limiting their
liability for manslaughter. Thus Kennedy’s conviction of manslaughter is not
reasonable, as foreseeability is interpreted broadly. I should have expanded on
academic viewpoints about the impact of foreseeability, not just briefly outlining
foreseeability.

 

If
I were to rewrite the essay, I would mention the conflict of Environment Agency
v Empress Car Co9.
Cherkassy10
argues that Kennedy and Environment Agency ignore foreseeability and both take
reverse casual approaches. In Empress Car, the third party did not break the
chain of causation, but Kennedy did, showing that something extraordinary has
to beak the chain of causation. Thus, the decision in Empress is restricted to strict
liability, questioning the chain of causation. The reference to more case law
would have allowed me to improve my answer.

 

Conclusion

To
conclude, the strength of my essay is my informative introduction, with my
essay demonstrating my knowledge on the subject matter from my judgement of the
cases. Structuring my essays with subtitles will improve the clarity and flow
of my essay. In the future I will work towards more effective evaluation, which
includes counter arguments and academic opinions to further support my argument
with case laws.

1 Kennedy (No2) 2007 UKHL 38

2 Hart & Honoré, Causation in the Law (2nd edn OUP 1985) 326

3 Edwina Higgins, Laura Tatham and Richard
Lee, ‘Criminal law causation in the ‘heroin cases’: R v Kennedy (no.2) 2007
UKHL 38 (2008) 42(3) The Law Teacher 359

4 R v Khan 1998 Crim LR 830

5 Timothy Jones, “Causation, Homicide and the Supply of Drugs” (2006) 26 L.S. 139
142

6 Alan Norrie, Crime, Reason and History:
A Critical Introduction To Criminal Law (3rd edn, CUP, 2014) pp.
171-196

7 R v Finlay 2003 EWCA Crim 3868

8 Lisa Cherkassy, ‘Kennedy and Unlawful
Act Manslaughter: An Unorthodox Application of the Doctrine of Causation’
(2008) Journal of Criminal Law 387

9  Environment Agency v Empress Car Co
1999 2 A.C. 22

10 (n 8)

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