Murder and Manslaughter

Murder and Manslaughter

If you are facing charges of murder or manslaughter you must obtain the best legal advice and representation. Adam Law Solicitors are one of the leading criminal defence law firms in the UK. We have years of experience in successfully defending people charged with murder or manslaughter. The penalties for these crimes can include life imprisonment, meaning you must instruct a Solicitor who has the expertise and contacts to defend such a serious charge.

If you are concerned you may be facing charges for murder or manslaughter, or are already facing charges, it is essential you contact us as quickly as possible.  Phone us now on 0114 256 0111, or email us or use the form on this page.

Adam Law Criminal Solicitors 24hr emergency number 07976 850347

Due to our formidable reputation in successfully defending murder and manslaughter charges, Adam Law Solicitors has built strong relationships with leading Barristers, King’s Counsel, leading pathologists, Expert Witnesses, and Mental Health Professionals, who can assist our team with creating a best in class criminal defence and persuade a jury that you are innocent.

Adam Law Solicitors invests heavily in accreditations, including Lexcel and the Law Society Criminal Litigation Accreditation. These provide our clients with confidence that we meet the exceptionally high standards for practice management and criminal litigation skills set by the Law Society of England and Wales.

We provide police station representation. Call us now on the number below.

Adam Law Criminal Solicitors 24hr emergency number 07976 850347


What does the Prosecution have to prove?

To prove that the Defendant is guilty of murder, the Prosecution has to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that the Defendant:

  • of sound mind and discretion (i.e. sane);
  • unlawfully kills (i.e. not self-defence or other justified killing);
  • any reasonable creature (human being);
  • in being (born alive and breathing through its own lungs
  • under the King’s Peace;
  • with intent to kill or cause grievous bodily harm (GBH).


For the principal defendant, the intent for murder is the intention to kill or cause grievous bodily harm (GBH), nothing less. Foresight is no more than evidence from which the jury may draw the inference of intent.

Attempted Murder

In contrast to the offence of murder, attempted murder requires the existence of an intention to kill, not merely to cause grievous bodily harm. The requisite intention to kill can be inferred by the circumstances.

Joint Enterprise

Where two people are jointly indicted for the commission of a crime and the evidence does not point to one rather than the other, and there is no evidence that they were acting in concert, the jury ought to acquit both. This equally applies to homicide offences.  

Where association evidence is relied on, the circumstances of the association of the suspect with the principal offender, together with the other evidence in the case, must give rise to the inference that the suspect was assisting or encouraging the principal’s offence


A causal link must be shown between the act/omission and the death.

The act or omission must be a substantial cause of death, but it need not be the sole or main cause of death. It must have “more than minimally negligibly or trivially contributed to the death.”

It does not matter that the act/omission by the defendant merely “hastened” the victim’s death.

What is an intervening act in a murder charge?

To break the “chain of causation” an intervening act must be such that it becomes the sole cause of the victim’s death so as to relieve the defendant of liability.

Examples of intervening acts are:

  • Third party interventions: such an act will not break the chain unless it was a free, deliberate, informed, voluntary act, which was not reasonably foreseeable by a reasonable person.
  • Acts of God or nature can break the chain if entirely unforeseen and unconnected with the defendant’s act.
  • An act of the victim will break the chain if not within the range of response which might be anticipated from a victim in his situation. Note:Reeves v Metropolitan Police Commissioner (HOL) 2000 1 AC 560 where it was accepted that if the police were aware that the prisoner was a known suicide risk then a special duty of care existed and that Novus actus interveniens did not apply where he then went on to commit suicide.
  • Death resulting from any normal medical treatment employed to deal with a criminal injury must be regarded as caused by the criminal injury. It is only in the most extraordinary case that treatment designed to repair the harm done by the original attack could be regarded as the cause of the victim’s death to the exclusion of the accused’s act.

What are the defences to murder?

Partial defences, are different to complete defences, such as self-defence, as they bear all the ingredients of murder but if successfully argued, reduce the offence to an act of” voluntary manslaughter” not murder.

There are three partial defences to murder: diminished responsibility, loss of control and killing in pursuance of a suicide pact.

In addition there is a so called ‘concealed’ partial defence, created by legislation in the act of infanticide, see below in this guidance.

Duress is not a defence to a charge of murder or attempted murder.

What is manslaughter?

All unlawful killings that are not murder will result in a charge of manslaughter. Manslaughter is divided into two categories, namely voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.

Voluntary manslaughter occurs when the Defendant successfully proves one of the partial defences to murder: diminished responsibility, loss of control, and killing in pursuance of a suicide pact. Involuntary manslaughter happens when a person is unlawfully killed, and the Defendant lacked the intent to kill or cause grievous bodily harm.

Why choose us?

Serious crimes such as murder and manslaughter demand the expertise of a law firm that has the knowledge and connections required to build a persuasive criminal defence. We work incredibly closely with your Barrister and will keep you constantly updated as to how your case is developing. Not only do we have a robust track record of successfully defending criminal cases, but we are also skilled at applying for and achieving bail.

Do not delay in calling us on 01 1425 60111.

If you believe you may be charged with murder or manslaughter, or are already facing charges, you must contact us as quickly as possible. 

Adam Law Criminal Solicitors 24hr emergency number 07976 850347