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Encyclopedia > Theft Act 1978
Criminal law in English law
Part of the common law series
Classes of crimes
Summary  · Indictable
Hybrid offence  · Regulatory offences
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Actus reus  · Causation
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Intention in English law  · Recklessness
Criminal negligence  · Corporate liability
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Omission  · Concurrence
Ignorantia juris non excusat
Inchoate offences
Incitement  · Conspiracy
Accessory  · Attempt
Common purpose
Defences
Consent  · Diminished responsibility
Duress
M'Naghten Rules  · Necessity
Provocation
Self-defence
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Common assault  · Battery
Actual bodily harm  · Grievous bodily harm
Offences Against The Person Act 1861
Murder  · Manslaughter
Corporate manslaughter  · Harassment
Public order and crimes against property
Criminal Damage Act 1971
Malicious Damage Act 1861
Public nuisance
Crimes of dishonesty
Theft Act 1968  · Theft  · Dishonesty
Robbery  · Burglary  · TWOC
Deception  · Deception offences
Blackmail  · Handling
Theft Act 1978  · Forgery
Computer crime
Sexual crimes
Rape  · Kidnapping
Crimes against justice
Bribery  · Perjury
Obstruction of justice
See also Criminal Procedure
Criminal Defences
Other areas of the common law
Contract law  · Tort law  · Property law
Wills and trusts  · Evidence
Portals: Law  · Criminal justice

The Theft Act 1978 supplemented the earlier deception offences in English law contained in sections 15 and 16 of the Theft Act 1968 by reforming some aspects of those offences and adding new provisions. Sections 1 and 2 were repealed on 15th January 2007 with the implementation of the Fraud Act 2006. Image File history File links Scale_of_justice. ... English law is a formal term of art that describes the law for the time being in force in England and Wales. ... This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ... In many common law jurisdictions (e. ... A hybrid offence or dual offence are the special offences in Canadian criminal law where the prosecution may choose whether to proceed with a summary offence or an indictment. ... Regulatory offences are a class of crime in which the standard for proving culpability has been lowered so as not to require any fault elements. ... A lesser included offense, in criminal law, is a crime for which all of the elements necessary to impose liability are also elements found in a more serious crime. ... Actus reus is the action (or inaction, in the case of criminal negligence and similar crimes which are sometimes called acts of omission) which, in combination with the mens rea (guilty mind), produces criminal liability in common law based criminal law jurisdictions such as the United States, United Kingdom. ... In law, causation is the name given to the process of testing whether defendants should be fixed with liability for the outcome to their acts and omissions that injure or cause loss to others. ... The mens rea is the Latin term for guilty mind used in the criminal law. ... In the criminal law, intention is one of the three general classes of mens rea necessary to constitute a conventional as opposed to strict liability crime. ... In English criminal law, intention is one of the types of mens rea (Latin for guilty mind) that, when accompanied by an actus reus (Latin for guilty act) constitutes a crime. ... In the criminal law, recklessness (sometimes also termed willful blindness which may have a different meaning in the United States) is one of the three possible classes of mental state constituting mens rea (the Latin for guilty mind). To commit an offence of ordinary as opposed to strict liability, the... Criminal negligence, in the realm of criminal common law, is a legal term of art for a state of mind which is careless, inattentive, neglectful, willfully blind, or reckless; it is the mens rea part of a crime which, if occurring simultaneously with the actus reus, gives rise to criminal... In the criminal law, corporate liability determines the extent to which a corporation as a fictitious person can be liable for the acts and omissions of the natural persons it employs. ... The legal principle of vicarious liability applies to hold one person liable for the actions of another when engaged in some form of joint or collective activity. ... In criminal law, strict liability is liability where mens rea (Latin for guilty mind) does not have to be proved in relation to one or more elements comprising the actus reus (Latin for guilty act) although intention, recklessness or knowledge may be required in relation to other elements of the... In the criminal law, an omission or failure to act will constitute an actus reus (Latin for guilty act) and give rise to liability only when the law imposes a duty to act and the defendant is in breach of that duty. ... For other uses, see concurrency. ... It has been suggested that presumed knowledge of the law be merged into this article or section. ... An inchoate offence is a crime. ... In English criminal law, incitement is an anticipatory common law offence and is the act of persuading, encouraging, instigating, pressuring, or threatening so as to cause another to commit a crime. ... In the criminal law, a conspiracy is an agreement between two or more natural persons to break the law at some time in the future, and, in some cases, with at least one overt act in furtherance of that agreement. ... An accessory is a person who assists in or conceals a crime, but does not actually participate in the commission of the crime. ... The crime of attempt occurs when a person does an act amounting to more than mere preparation for a criminal offense, with specific intent to commit a crime, if that act tends but fails to effect the commission of the offense intended. ... In criminal law, the doctrine of common purpose, common design or joint enterprise refers to the situation where two or more people embark on a project with a common purpose that results in the commission of a crime. ... Categories: | ... For the law in other criminal jurisdictions, see diminished responsibility. ... For a general discussion of the principles, see duress In English law, duress is a defence which allows a limited excuse in favour of those who commit crimes because they are forced or compelled to do so against their will by the threats of another. ... The MNaghten Rules are used to establish insanity as an excuse to potential criminal liability, but the definitional criteria establish insanity in the legal and not the psychological sense. ... For the discussion on general principles and policy, see necessity In English law, the defence of necessity recognises that there may be situations of such an overwhelming urgency, that a person must be allowed to respond by breaking the law. ... For an description of the general principles, see provocation (legal). ... In English criminal law, the defence of self-defence provides for the right of people to act in a manner that would be otherwise unlawful in order to preserve the physical integrity of themselves or others or to prevent any crime. ... In criminal law, a common assault is a crime when the defendant either puts another in fear of injury or actually commits a battery. ... In many common law jurisdictions, the crime of battery involves an injury or other contact upon the person of another in a manner likely to cause bodily harm. ... Actual Bodily Harm (often abbreviated to ABH) is a type of criminal assault defined under English law. ... Grievous bodily harm or GBH is a phrase used in English criminal law which was introduced in ss18 and 20 Offences Against The Person Act 1861. ... This page is a candidate to be copied to Wikisource. ... Corporate manslaughter is a term in English law for an act of homicide committed by a company. ... Harassment refers to a wide spectrum of offensive behavior. ... Under English law, the Criminal Damage Act 1971 is the main statute covering damage to property. ... The Malicious Damage Act of 1861 is a law now mostly concerned with damage to property in the transport sector of society. ... Nuisance is a common law tort. ... The Theft Act 1968 (1968 c. ... Everyday instance of theft: the bike which fits on this wheel has disappeared. ... Dishonesty is a term which in common usage may be defined as the act of being dishonest; to act without honesty; a lack of probity, to cheat, lying or being deliberately deceptive; lacking in integrity; to be knavish, perfidious, corrupt or treacherous; charlatanism or quackery. ... TWOC is an acronym standing for Taken Without Owners Consent. ... For the purposes of English law, deception is defined in s15(4) Theft Act 1968 and applies to the deception offences in the Theft Act 1968, and to the Theft Act 1978 and the Theft (Amendment) Act 1996. ... In English law, the main deception offences are defined in the Theft Act 1968 (TA68), the Theft Act 1978 and the Theft (Amendment) Act 1996. ... For other uses, see Blackmail (disambiguation). ... A cars handling is a description of the way the car performs, particularly during cornering. ... Forgery is the process of making or adapting objects or documents (see false document), with the intention to deceive. ... Computer Crime, Cybercrime, E-Crime, Hi-Tech Crime or Electronic Crime generally refers to criminal activity where a computer or network is the tool, target, or place of a crime. ... Bribery is a crime implying a sum or gift given alters the behaviour of the person in ways not consistent with the duties of that person. ... Perjury is the act of lying or making verifiably false statements on a material matter under oath or affirmation in a court of law or in any of various sworn statements in writing. ... Modern Obstruction of Justice, in a common law state, refers to the crime of offering interference of any sort to the work of police, investigators, regulatory agencies, prosecutors, or other (usually government) officials. ... Criminal procedure refers to the legal process for adjudicating claims that someone has violated the criminal law. ... A contract is any promise or set of promises made by one party to another for the breach of which the law provides a remedy. ... In the common law, a tort is a civil wrong for which the law provides a remedy. ... Property law is the area of law that governs the various forms of ownership in real property (land as distinct from personal or movable possessions) and in personal property, within the common law legal system. ... In the common law, a will or testament is a document by which a person (the testator) regulates the rights of others over his property or family after death. ... The law of trusts and estates is generally considered the body of law which governs the management of personal affairs and the disposition of property of an individual in anticipation and the event of such persons incapacity or death, also known as the law of successions in civil law. ... The law of evidence governs the use of testimony (e. ... In English law, the main deception offences are defined in the Theft Act 1968 (TA68), the Theft Act 1978 and the Theft (Amendment) Act 1996. ... The Theft Act 1968 (1968 c. ... The Fraud Act 2006 (2006 c. ...

Contents

Obtaining services by deception

Section 1 (as amended by the Theft (Amendment) Act 1996), provides:

(1) A person who by any deception dishonestly obtains services from another shall be guilty of an offence.
(2) It is an obtaining of services where the other is induced to confer a benefit by doing some act, or causing or permitting some act to be done, on the understanding that the benefit has been or will be paid for.
(3) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (2) above, it is an obtaining of services where the other is induced to make a loan, or to cause or permit a loan to be made, on the understanding that any payment (whether by way of interest or otherwise) will be or has been made in respect of the loan."

There must be a deception which, according to s5(1), has the same meaning as in section 15(4) of the Theft Act 1968, i.e. For the purposes of English law, deception is defined in s15(4) Theft Act 1968 and applies to the deception offences in the Theft Act 1968, and to the Theft Act 1978 and the Theft (Amendment) Act 1996. ...

any deception (whether deliberate or reckless) by words or conduct as to fact or as to law, including a deception as to the present intentions of the person using the deception or any other person. This deception must be the cause of the obtaining (see the discussion on causation in deception offences). The defendant must obtain a service as defined in s1(2), i.e. the victim must confer a benefit on the defendant (or another). The 'services' must be non-gratuitous, i.e. the benefits must be provided by the victim of the deception in the expectation that they are to be paid for at commercial rates (see s1(2)). It must be conferred by the doing, causing, or permitting of some act; a failure to act which confers a benefit is not sufficient. Thus, a person who employs a lawyer or accountant without ever intending to pay, may commit an offence under s1. But a person who lies to a neighbour to secure the loan of a power drill does not commit an offence because the benefit is not obtained on the understanding that it has been or will be paid for. In R v Halai (1983) Crim LR 624, the defendant made false statements in an application for a mortgage and thereby obtained a survey, the opening of an account and a mortgage advance. Note that the Theft (Amendment) Act 1996 introduced s.1(3) specifically to provide that a loan amounts to a service. This dispenses with that part of the decision in Halai (which had, in any event, been overruled by R v Graham (1997) prior to the Act) As to the opening of an account, contrast R v Shortland [1995] Crim LR 893 in which the Court of Appeal held that, on the evidence presented, opening bank accounts under false names did not amount to the s1 offence, but suggested that it might have done if evidence that it had to be paid for had been presented. The mens rea for all offences is dishonesty.

In English law, the main deception offences are defined in the Theft Act 1968 (TA68), the Theft Act 1978 and the Theft (Amendment) Act 1996. ... Wikibooks has more about this subject: Marketing In economics and marketing, a service is the non-material equivalent of a good. ... English barrister 16th century painting of a civil law notary, by Flemish painter Quentin Massys. ... Accountant, or Qualified Accountant, or Professional Accountant, or Accountancy Practitioner, is an accountancy and financial experts legally certified in different jurisdictions to originally worked only in public practices, selling advice and services to other individuals and businesses, but today in addition many work within private corporations, financial industry and government... Her Majestys Court of Appeal is the second most senior court in the English legal system, with only the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords above it. ... The mens rea is the Latin term for guilty mind used in the criminal law. ... Dishonesty is a term which in common usage may be defined as the act of being dishonest; to act without honesty; a lack of probity, to cheat, lying or being deliberately deceptive; lacking in integrity; to be knavish, perfidious, corrupt or treacherous; charlatanism or quackery. ...

Evasion of liability by deception

Section 2 provides:

(1) Subject to subsection (2) below, where a person by any deception
(a) dishonestly secures the remission of the whole or part of any existing liability to make a payment, whether his own liability or another's; or
(b) with intent to make permanent default in whole or in part on any existing liability to make a payment, or with intent to let another do so, dishonestly induces the creditor or any person claiming payment on behalf of the creditor to wait for payment (whether or not the due date for payment is deferred) or to forgo payment; or
(c) dishonestly obtains any exemption from or abatement of liability to make a payment;
he shall be guilty of an offence.
(2) For the purposes of this section 'liability' means legally enforceable liability; and subsection (1) shall not apply in relation to a liability that has not been accepted or established to pay compensation for a wrongful act or omission."
(3) for purposes of subsection (1)(b) a person induced to take in payment a cheque or other security for money by way of conditional satisfaction of a pre-existing liability is to be treated not as being paid but as being induced to wait for payment.
(4) For purposes of subsection (1)(c) "obtains" includes obtaining for another or enabling another to obtain.

Section 2(1) is divided into three parts, all of which require both that a deception caused the obtaining, which may be for oneself or for another, and that there is a liability to pay which is legally-enforceable. All three also require proof that the creditor is deceived into releasing the defendant from the obligation to pay in some way. (Contrast the previous law represented by DPP v Ray which, for policy reasons, held that merely running out of a restaurant without positively deceiving someone was nevertheless an offence.


Remission of a debt

Section 2(1)(a) covers the deception which dishonestly secures the remission of the whole or part of an existing liability to make a payment. Unlike the other two subsections, this requires that the victim knows that a liability exists and knows how much he or she is remitting. It does not cover situations where the defendant tricks the victim into believing that no money is owing (ss2(1)(b) and (c) do cover this situation). If A borrows £50 from B and, when repayment is due, claims that a change of circumstances makes it impossible for him to repay some or all of the money; this deception persuades B to forgive the loan, or to accept £10 in full satisfaction (Criminal Law Revision Committee (CLRC), Thirteenth Report, para. 13). In R v Jackson (1983) Crim LR 618 (CA) Jackson tendered a stolen credit card to pay for petrol and other goods, and it was accepted by a trader, who then looked to the issuing credit card company for payment and not to the person tendering the card. This was held to dishonestly secure the remission of an existing liability and Jackson was convicted. For these purposes, the existing liability to make a payment may be the defendant's own liability or another's.


The provisions of s2(2) clarifiy that s2(1) does not apply where the liability has not been "accepted or established to pay compensation for a wrongful act or omission". This avoids the criminal law being a default liability for civil proceedings. Thus, if X lies about an accident to avoid a claim of negligence, no offence is committed. The claimant can commence civil proceedings once the deception is discovered (CLRC, Thirteenth Report, para 16). In tort law, the right to sue and recover damages from another on the basis of negligence, as opposed to numerous other tort theories discussed elsewhere, is based upon proving that the defendant failed to use ordinary care, that is,that degree of care for the protection of the person...


Delaying payment of a debt

Like s2(1)(a), this requires an existing liability to make payment but, unlike (a), it does not require that the creditor knows that he or she is "letting the defendant off". In R v Holt & Lee (1981) Crim LR 499 (CA) the defendants ate a meal in a restaurant which cost £3.65. When presented with the bill, they claimed that another waitress had already taken a £5 note from the table. Unfortunately, an off-duty policeman had overheard their planning. They were both convicted of an attempt by deception to induce the creditor to forego payment with intent to make permanent default. Their appeal against conviction was dismissed. The section is also concerned with dishonestly inducing a creditor to wait for payment. In many circumstances, this means that ss2(1)(a) and (b) will overlap, but there are also situations in which they do not. Thus, creditors who remit will also forgo, A particular instance of "wait for payment" is provided by s.2(3) which was a necessary amendment because of the general principle that accepting a cheque (even a worthless cheque) as the means of payment, means that, until the creditor receives notice that the cheque has been dishonoured, he or she stops seeking payment: see R v Hammond (1982). s2(3) provides that a person induced to take a cheque or other security for money by way of conditional satisfaction of an existing liability is to be treated not as being paid but as being induced to wait for payment. As mens rea, the defendant must make the deception with intent to make permanent default in whole or in part on any existing liability to make a payment of his own, or with intent to let another do so.


Avoiding incurring a debt

For there to be an offence under s2(1)(c) there must be dishonesty and a deception which obtains any exemption from or abatement of liability to make a payment. Because both ss2(1)(a) and (b) require an "existing" liability to pay, they do not cover situations where the point of the deception is to prevent a liability from arising in the future. s2(1)(c) would apply when a person flags down a taxi and claims only to have £5. The driver agrees to carry the passenger to the destination for this amount. The contract is made for a reduced amount which is an "abatement" for these purposes. If the driver agreed to carry for no charge, this would be an "exemption". The CLRC gave examples where the defendant dishonestly obtained a rate rebate or a reduction in rent for the future. Another example would be waving a credit card at a ticket collector at a railway station to avoid having to pay to board the train. In roader than previous two offences as not limited to existing liabilities. In R v Firth (1990) CLR 326 the defendant failed to tell the NHS that patients using NHS facilities were in fact private patients thereby obtaining facilities without payment (an example of an omission or silence constituting the deception). In R v Sibartie (1983) CLR 470, the defendant was convicted of attempting s2(1)(c) when he deceived a ticket collector on the underground into believing that he had paid for the whole of his journey. In fact, he had only purchased tickets which covered the first few and last few stations in his journey. The court of first instance said that that was a dishonest attempt to obtain an exemption from the liability to pay the excess. On appeal, it was argued that this was an attempt to induce the creditor to forgo payment of part under s2(1)(b). The Court of Appeal held that although this illustrated the overlap between s.2(1)(b) and s.2(1)(c), it did not make liability under s.2(1)(c) wrong. In the criminal law, an omission or failure to act will constitute an actus reus (Latin for guilty act) and give rise to liability only when the law imposes a duty to act and the defendant is in breach of that duty. ...


Making off without payment

Section 3 provides:

(1) Subject to subsection (3) below, a person who, knowing that payment on the spot for any goods supplied or service done is required or expected from him, dishonestly makes off without having paid as required or expected and with intent to avoid payment of the amount due shall be guilty of an offence.
(2) For purposes of this section 'payment on the spot' includes payment at the time of collecting goods on which work has been done or in respect of which service has been provided.
(3) Subsection (1) above shall not apply where the supply of the goods or the doing of the service is contrary to law, or where the service done is such that payment is not legally enforceable.
(4) Any person may arrest without warrant anyone who is, or whom he, with reasonable cause, suspects to be, committing or attempting to commit an offence under this section."

This section is intended to protect legitimate business concerns and applies where goods are supplied or a service is performed on the basis that payment will be made there and then. This includes a restaurant where the meal is supplied on the understanding that the bill will be paid before the diner leaves (CLRC, Thirteenth Report, para. 19) and the passenger in a taxi who runs off without paying the fare at the end of the journey, and the motorist who fills up with petrol at a garage and drives off when the attendant is distracted (CLRC, Thirteenth Report, para. 20). For these purposes, it must be proved that the defendant knew that payment on the spot was required or expected, and made off dishonestly with intent to avoid payment of the amount due. This section is intended to avoid any problems from the application of civil law principles. For example, the Sale of Goods Act determines when the ownership of goods passes. If the goods are being ascertained as part of the contract, title will pass when the goods are identified or measured. In a restaurant, this will probably occur when the food is cooked and plated. In a garage, it will occur when the fuel is measured as it passes through the pump into the car's tank. To be a theft, the goods must belong to another when the appropriation occurs. Similarly, if ownership passed before an intention to avoid payment was formed, running off might be a breach of civil law but it was not a crime. This became too common an event and so the law had to be clarified to enable convictions to be obtained despite civil law niceties. A bill is a document requesting payment for goods and services previously supplied. ... In the common law, civil law refers to the area of law governing relations between private individuals. ... Everyday instance of theft: the bike which fits on this wheel has disappeared. ...


References

  • Allen, Michael. Textbook on Criminal Law. Oxford University Press: Oxford. (2005) ISBN 0-19-927918-7.
  • Criminal Law Revision Committee. 8th Report. Theft and Related Offences. Cmnd. 2977
  • Griew, Edward. Theft Acts 1968 & 1978, Sweet & Maxwell: London.. ISBN 0-421-19960-1
  • Ormerod, David. Smith and Hogan Criminal Law, LexisNexis: London. (2005) ISBN 0-406-97730-5
  • Smith, J. C. Law of Theft, LexisNexis: London. (1997) ISBN 0-406-89545-7.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Theft Act 1978 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1931 words)
The Theft Act 1978 supplemented the earlier deception offences contained in ss15 and 16 Theft Act 1968 by reforming some aspects of those offences and adding new provisions.
There must be a deception which, according to s5(1), has the same meaning as in s15(4) Theft Act 1968, i.e.
To be a theft, the goods must belong to another when the appropriation occurs.
Theft Act 1968 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (601 words)
The Theft Act 1968 (1968 c.60) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, governing most of the general property offences in English law.
The Theft Act 1968 resulted from the efforts of the Criminal Law Revision Committee to reform the English law of theft.
The intention of the Theft Act 1968, was to replace the existing law of larceny and other deception-related offences, by a single enactment, creating a more coherent body of principles that would allow the law to evolve to meet new situations.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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