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ANSWERING QUESTIONS IN CRIMINAL LAW The purpose of this book is to assist students in their study of criminal law. It is not intended to replace standard textbooks but to complement them by providing illustrations of answers to typical examination and course assessment questions. It is anticipated that it will be of most use to students who have acquired a good knowledge of the rules and principles of criminal law but who still experience difficulty in expressing that knowledge when it comes to tackling questions. PROBLEM QUESTIONS Most examinations in criminal law include questions requiring candidates to analyse the liability of one or more parties in fictional ‘problem’ scenarios. These are designed to test knowledge of a limited number of offences and defences. It is not always clear to students what exactly is expected of them when answering questions of this type. Common difficulties include tackling problems where some of the facts crucial to liability are not disclosed or where the authorities conflict, are ambiguous or are unclear. Your aim should be to develop a systematic approach to answering questions well in advance of taking the examination. Well-structured answers are vital and it is hoped that the following guidance will assist you in learning how to do this. ANSWER PLANS Many candidates are reluctant to write a plan as they feel time is better spent writing the answer. This is a false economy. Structuring a plan will focus your mind, the issues raised will become clearer and your thoughts will become better organised. Also, by planning your answer you will avoid overlooking important issues and wasting time on irrelevant matters. Structuring Your Plan Most questions raise issues concerning more than one offence and possibly more than one defence. Identify the offences and defences involved in the question.