Any Law students who could help me? - Help would be appreciated a lot :)

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username2400323
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Hi, I would like to know if anyone is able to help me with understanding the defence of duress (in particular, duress of circumstances). I am with AQA for A2 Law.

Thank you
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probandum
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Sure, what's the question?
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username2400323
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(Original post by probandum)
Sure, what's the question?
Well, with the strong overlap between duress by threat and duress of circumstances I am struggling to see what I need to consider for each. I slightly understand the difference but I am not sure about what elements of duress by threats still apply to duress of circumstance. Also, as duress of circumstances seems like a new or less-developed area of the law I seem to be finding it even more difficult than duress by threats.

Thank you

P.S I am making notes and therefore do not want incorrect notes for revision
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probandum
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The distinction between duress by threats and DoC seems reasonably straight-forward: in classic duress, there is a fairly clear threat vocalised by a third party—they say they'll kill or seriously injure the person or their close family unless some crime is done.

While in a duress of circumstances case, the threat is not vocalised but merely obvious from context. In the R v Willis case, which started the whole DoC train running, the defendant was threatened (a whole gang of people were shouting "I'll kill you!" at him) and the circumstance of effecting his escape required him to commit various traffic offences. They made a threat, but it wasn't a threat of the form "do X or we'll kill you (or your family)".

The basic distinction between duress by threat and duress of circumstances is the requirement of an express threat.

In both, the defence is restricted: it cannot be used for murder, attempted murder or treason. The cases you want to look at for that are R v Howe and R v Gotts, the former dealing with murder and the latter attempted murder.

In duress by threats, the threat must be imminent although not necessarily immediate, and it must be of death or serious injury, to the defendant or his close family. You'll also need to understand the test developed in R v Graham.

Feel free to post any specific questions. Good luck with A2 Criminal Law—great subject.
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