Unlawful conduct is a very broad term, we may consider the term of unlawful conduct of any conduct relating to crimes but it is much broader than this, it also includes aspects of civil law. We can consider a conduct to be unlawful in many ways; this can be by underage drinking to downloading music from the internet without paying for such a song. For a conduct to be considered unlawful, it has to be approved by parliament. Without laws we cannot consider a conduct to be unlawful. Unlawful conduct is any conduct that it is forbidden by law.
Crimes are a form of unlawful conduct, such as, robbery, murder and assault which are considered criminal acts. Another form of unlawful conduct is civil disputes; this can be at a personal or business level. Also family law is considered a form of civil dispute and therefore it can be considered an unlawful conduct when dealing with cases such as divorce and child care. But for a conduct to be considered unlawful it has to be proven that the individual has done wrong, this is also known as fault. An individual cannot be punished unless at fault.
There are two types of fault, criminal and civil wrongs. There are two fundamentals in criminal fault to establish liability. The first element is known in Latin as “actus reus”, which means guilty act. We refer to actus reas, when a person has committed a crime voluntary or intentionally. The second element is known in Latin as “mens rea”, which means mental element. We refer to mens rea when an individual has committed a crime involuntary, with no intention of doing so. And therefore for a conduct to be considered unlawful it has to be done voluntary otherwise it would not be considered as an unlawful conduct.
A civil wrong is when any offence for which an action for damages may be brought. In the case of “Donoghue v Stevenson ” the House of Lords ruled that a person “must have duty to take reasonable care to avoid reasonably foreseeable injuries”. The concepts of “reasonable care” and “reasonable foresee” are the two basic concepts that judges take into consideration to decide liability in civil cases relating to negligence. In addition to this, there are many factors that influence why conduct is considered unlawful. Some factors could include; technological developments, this could be by using the internet. As more and more users start to use the internet to perform daily tasks, it creates a door for criminals and therefore encourage them to perform activities that are considered unlawful.
This includes, hacking into individuals bank accounts or by copying users credit cards. However, this action will encourage the government to take action against such activities and will create and reform laws accordingly so users that use the internet lawfully will be protected if any illegal action is performed against their activities. There are some laws that protect individuals and society from unnecessary harm, and therefore they are labelled as unlawful conduct to do such things. This can include driving a car over the speed limits, by setting speed limits the governments is protecting drivers of fatal accidents or the smoking age, which is currently at 18 and by this is stopping underage people smoking.
Another factor is social changes in our society. Society constantly changes and therefore has to adapt to new developments and norms. Pre 1967 homosexually was illegal in England and Wales and any adults to have homosexual intercourses would of been punished as it was considere and unlawful conduct. Although this is a lawful conduct in our modern society some people see this as an offence because of their religious belief or because they think such activities are wrong but it is not considered an unlawful conduct.
However, for a conduct to be considered as unlawful there must be a law to enforce such a conduct. As stated previously with homosexuality, it use to be illegal before 1967 as it was a written law, but this was abolished in 1967. If the conduct is to be refered as a moral conduct, where is wrong to conduct the way, it is not to be unlawful. This is another factor that influence why conducts is considered unlawful, as without this factor there wouldn’t be any unlawful conduct as they wouldn’t be any laws to establish them. For instance, in some countries or even religious believe, people may see that abortion is against their beliefs but this doesn’t mean that the person conducting an abortion is doing it unlawfully.
Activities that are considered as an unlawful conduct are in constant change and those activities which are not yet considered unlawful, parliament and other sources are in constant revision for new laws so such activities can be considered unlawful. Therefore, new laws and reforms are in constant revision. Parliament creates and reforms laws along with current conducts which are not currently unlawful but should be taken into consideration to become unlawful as such actions may course harm or even an offence to society.
In 2003 statistics prove that drivers using a mobile phone were more likely of causing an accident than those who didn’t use them. Therefore, government brought in a new law which stated it was illegal to driver while using a mobile phone. In this particular example, the ban was an amendment for “The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986” as a consequence of new factors such as technological developments as this offence was not required before as mobile phones were not highly used. Another way in which laws can be reformed is by the courts. Although for judges reform is not their prime concern.
They sometimes do so by interpreting statues if they see that some points of a law has any anomalies or if they feel that the law they are referring to is out of date from the case they are hearing, and therefore they may consider that such law do not apply to the current case. The law commission, which is an independent body established in 1965, which main function is to keep the law in constant review to adapt to new changes. Its other functions include the revision of statute law, to produce draft bills to government and to produce law reforms reports. Other methods of law reforms include advisory committee which reviews some aspects of law.
The Criminal Law Revision Committee which main function is to examine aspects of criminal law and advised the home secretary of any issues they may arise with. Another advisory committee is the Royal Commission. This is a body who advised on improvements within the law or legal system. In conclusion, a conduct cannot be considered unlawful unless written down as a law. Laws are created along with social changes and new developments such as technology and therefore the more the changes and developments there are there is more opportunity to conduct activities which are not unlawfully, but will be a gateway for new laws or reform to take place.