The Law Commission: Murder, Manslaughter and Infanticide - Project 6 of the Ninth Programme of Law Reform: Homicide
Laid before Parliament by the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor pursuant to section 3(2) of the Law Commissions Act 1965
The terms of reference for the review of murder
1.1 In July 2005, the Government announced a review of the law of murder in England and Wales, with the following terms of reference:
(1) To review the various elements of murder, including the defences and partial defences to it, and the relationship between the law of murder and the law relating to homicide (in particular manslaughter). The review will make recommendations that:
(a) take account of the continuing existence of the mandatory life sentence for murder;
(b) provide coherent and clear offences which protect individuals and society;
(c) enable those convicted to be appropriately punished; and
(d) are fair and non-discriminatory in accordance with the European
Convention of Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998.
(2) The process used will be open, inclusive and evidence-based and will involve:
(a) a review structure that will look to include key stakeholders;
(b) consultation with the public, criminal justice practitioners, academics, those who work with victims’ families, parliamentarians, faith groups; and (c) looking at evidence from research and from the experiences of other countries in reforming their law.
(3) The review structure will include consideration of areas such as culpability, intention, secondary participation etc inasmuch as they apply to murder. The review will only consider the areas of euthanasia and suicide inasmuch as they form part of the law of murder, not the more fundamental issues involved which would need separate debate. For the same reason abortion will not be part of the review.