Criminal Liability

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 30th June 2022.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Law Commission’s discussion paper, entitled Criminal Liability: Insanity and Automatism, published on 23 July 2013, if his Department will conduct a review into the use of automatism as a legal defence.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Answer of 20 June 2022 to Question 17873 on Criminal Liability, for what reasons his Department has no plans to bring forward reform to the use of automatism as a legal defence.

Photo of James Cartlidge James Cartlidge Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) , Assistant Whip

The government is grateful to the Law Commission for their discussion paper on “Criminal Liability: Insanity and Automatism” published in 2013. The government has noted their proposals and has no immediate plans to conduct a further review as the defence of automatism is used so rarely, however, we have not ruled out the possibility of reform in the future. We keep the law in this area under appraisal alongside related law on insanity and unfitness to plead.

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