The difficulties of establishing causation in murder and manslaughter cases

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Nedziwe, Nchimunya
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The aim of this research is to discuss the difficulties of establishing causation in murder and manslaughter in Zambia and to analyse whether or not courts need more legal principles and provisions on the law of causation. Causation is widely regarded as presenting very difficult issues for criminal law. Causation is an important area of criminal when determining whether or not an accused is guilty at law and in fact. The function of the law of causation is to identify the conditions under which criminal liability may be attributed to an accused. This research evaluates the law on causation in Zambia. The research analyses the procedural and substantive legal provisions that are used when establishing causation in murder and manslaughter. The research will also analyse case law on causation and highlight the difficulties that the courts face in establishing causation in the Zambian criminal justice system. The objectives of this research will be achieved by examining the literature on the law of causation and analysing primary sources such as legislation, case law in Zambia and English common law. By way of comparison this research analyses the difficulties of establishing causation in English common law. Some of the difficulties discussed in this research are arise in cases where there are intervening acts such as medical treatment and acts of third parties. One other difficulty the research discusses is the definition by law of substantial cause. There is need to revise the laws on causation to have a clear definition of what exactly will amount to a substantial cause of death. There is also need to improve the Zambian criminal justice system in respect to cases involving medical treatment and thorough postmortem processes when death has occurred to prevent wrongful convictions. The research covers the criminal law of Zambia and Common law on Causation.
Murder- Zambia , Criminal law- Zambia