Essay structure for the question “The actus reus required for inchoate offences has given rise to much inconsistency and is in dire need of being clarified, either by the courts or by the legislature.”


Critically discuss.


Introduction – 100 words max

  • Give the definition of inchoate offence
  • State inchoate offences such as criminal attempts are criticised for (state a criticism). Then explain that this criticism has led to lack of clarity and inconsistency and is therefore in need of being elaborated to create a better understanding of criminal law.
  • Then state this will discuss the major flaws of inchoate offences and how it can be clarified by the courts or the legislature


Paragraphs 2-4 – between 250 to 300 words max for each paragraph (Main body)

  • Paragraph 2 on criminal attempts
  • Paragraph 3 on conspiracy
  • Paragraph 4 on assisting or encouraging


Example structure Paragraph 2 on criminal attempts (between 250 to 300 words)

  • Summarise the definition of criminal attempt
  • State the actus reus for criminal attempt
  • Explain why this is inconsistent. For example, in this case one might look at the notes under C) The CAA 1981 test applying ‘more than merely preparatory’ in practice, where it addresses three flaws: (A) the test is being applied too narrowly; (B) the test is being applied inconsistently between offences; and (C) The test is being applied inconsistently within offences – Only one of these is required to discuss the flaws or maybe (two if needed)
  • Use cases and articles to support this flaws then explain the importance of the case/article such as say “this case is important in addressing the inconsistency of criminal attempts because (reason explained)
  • Link back to the question and say “therefore it is no doubt that this flaw/these flaws has showed that there needs to be a better understanding from the case law/legislature because …. (explain what is unclear but do not repeat and explain how this criticism can be resolved by the court or the legislature
  • Repeat this structure for other offences so conspiracy and assisting/encouraging


Conclusion – between 100 to 150 words max

  • Summarise all of the flaws of inchoate offences
  • Explain which flaw is the one that is most needed to be clarified by the court or legislature and explain why
  • If needed, use the essay example (below) to write a similar conclusion but change the wording so that it is about this question


Criminal Law