Mental State Defences in Criminal Law  book cover
1st Edition

Mental State Defences in Criminal Law

ISBN 9781409446453
Published September 9, 2012 by Routledge
248 Pages

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Book Description

By defining appropriate boundaries for the defence of insanity and the doctrine of automatism, this book presents a consistent and principled approach to the reform of mental state defences. In particular, by undertaking an interdisciplinary analysis of the various factors that inform these defences the book concludes with several practical and robust reform proposals There are three objectives that underpin the suggested reform proposals. First, to ensure that an accused will be able to raise a defence of insanity for involuntary conduct arising from mental disorder even where he or she is aware of the nature and quality of such conduct. Second, to provide principled means by which to establish the criminal responsibility of an accused for conduct performed in a state of drug-induced psychosis. Third, to ensure that criminal conduct arising from a state of ’impaired consciousness’ does not automatically result in the outright acquittal of an accused. In articulating the competing demands that must be balanced in order to secure a principled approach to the reform of mental state defences the book will be of relevance to all common law countries.



Dr Steven Yannoulidis has both lectured and tutored in Criminal Law for several years at Monash University. Dr Yannoulidis's main research interest has been in the area of mental health law and criminal responsibility. He has been a Researcher with the Centre for the Advancement of Law and Mental Health at Monash University as well as a member of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law. Dr Yannoulidis's work has appeared in both national and international interdisciplinary journals devoted to the interrelationship between psychiatry, psychology and law.


’...offers interesting discussions on the issue of drug-induced psychosis and questions related to the M’Naghten rules. It will find most readers among legal scholars from common law countries, where the M’Naghten rules are contested and debated.’ Drugs and Alcohol Today ’This book rigorously examines the foundations for the troubling mental impairment defences. It focuses particularly on Australian law but the argument is relevant across the common law world. Some interesting and controversial proposals are made, and important arguments presented, especially regarding responsibility in drug-induced psychosis and in states of impaired consciousness.’ John Dawson, University of Otago, New Zealand ’Dr Yannoulidis' work systematically analyses current Australian law on mental state defences against an international backdrop. It pares the law back to its essentials and questions the underpinnings of such defences. Most importantly, it provides challenging proposals to reconceptualize and reform the law. It is an exciting and fresh contribution to scholarship.’ Ian Freckelton, Editor-in-Chief of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law 'The book makes a substantial contribution to the debate about law reform in this area of criminal law and, as this topic is, at the time of writing, before at least two law reform bodies in the common law world (NSW Law Reform Commission; Law Commission (UK)), its publication is both timely and welcome.' Current Issues in Criminal Justice ’...a necessary book for anyone interested in the law and insanity,’ Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology