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We have provided a framework showing you how to answer a criminal problem question. We have tried to simplify it down to its core elements. Please note that an assessment or exam question will be complex with lots of facts and parties with many overlapping offences. Stick to the simply framework applying it to each factual incident or offence.



  1. Define the offence committed

  2. Establish the Actus Reus for each offence committed

  • What is the actus reus?

  • Where is it defined?

  • Was there sufficient causation (result crime)

  • Was it voluntary conduct?


3. Establish the Mens Rea for each offence

  • What is the mens rea?

  • Where is it defined?

  • Are there alternate mens rea’s for this offence like Cunningham recklessness?

4. Defences

  • What are the relevant defences?

  • Which ones could be argued to apply?

  • Counterarguments to potential defences?


5. The advice:

  • Marks come from your analysis of the law to the facts.

  • Discuss one person at a time and one offence at a time.

  • DO NOT say definitely yes or definitely no to anything. You must give both sides of the argument, and present counterarguments to any points raised regarding the elements of the offences. You are marked on your working out, NOT on whether you think the person is liable or not.


If you require further help with law problem question answering check our the law tutor service in our shop or if you need a tailored law tutoring service, then email us. 

There are more examples of actual questions that have been answered in our Criminal Law Core Series and Q&A Series.

Criminal Law Book
Q&A Criminal Law Book