Search Legislation

Coroners and Justice Act 2009

Part 2 - Criminal offences

24.On 28 October 2004 the Home Secretary announced (Hansard cols 1579-1580) that the Home Office, the Department for Constitutional Affairs and the Attorney General’s Office would jointly review the law on homicide, with the first stage of the review being undertaken by the Law Commission and the second stage by the Government. In November 2006, the Law Commission published a report Murder, Manslaughter and Infanticide (available at – this completed the first phase of the review. On 12 December 2007 the Ministry of Justice announced (Hansard col. 43WS) the second stage of the review, stating that having considered the Law Commission’s recommendations carefully the Government had decided to proceed on a step-by-step basis, looking first at the recommendations relating to:

  • reformed partial defences to murder of provocation and diminished responsibility;

  • the law on complicity in relation to homicide; and

  • infanticide.

25.In July 2008, the Government published a consultation paper Murder, Manslaughter and Infanticide: proposals for reform of the law including draft clauses (available at The Government received 74 responses to the consultation as well as running a number of stakeholder workshops and one-to-one meetings with key stakeholders. Having considered the responses to this consultation the Government decided to proceed with reforms to the partial defences to murder of provocation and diminished responsibility and reform of the law on infanticide. The strong message from the consultation was that complicity in relation to homicide should be reviewed in the context of the wider law on complicity, and the Government accepts that there are significant benefits to this approach. The summary of responses and a statement of the Government’s position was published on 14 January 2009 (

26.Child psychologist Tanya Byron’s report Safer Children in a Digital World published in March 2008 ( identified websites promoting suicide as an area where there is some confusion about the application of the law to on-line activity. It recommended that the law on harmful and inappropriate material (including suicide websites) should be investigated to see if it could usefully be clarified.

27.Following such a review, the Government announced by way of a written Ministerial Statement on 17 September 2008 (Hansard col. 142WS) that it intended to simplify the law on assisting suicide to increase public understanding and reassure people that it applies as much on the internet as it does off-line.

28.In reviewing the law, the Government took account of the Law Commission proposals in its report Inchoate liability for assisting and encouraging crime published in July 2006 ( that the language of section 2 of the Suicide Act 1961 should be updated.

29.In April 2007, the Government issued a Consultation Paper on the Possession of non-photographic visual depictions of child sexual abuse. A summary of responses was published in May 2008 (

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources

Impact Assessments

Impact Assessments generally accompany all UK Government interventions of a regulatory nature that affect the private sector, civil society organisations and public services. They apply regardless of whether the regulation originates from a domestic or international source and can accompany primary (Acts etc) and secondary legislation (SIs). An Impact Assessment allows those with an interest in the policy area to understand:

  • Why the government is proposing to intervene;
  • The main options the government is considering, and which one is preferred;
  • How and to what extent new policies may impact on them; and,
  • The estimated costs and benefits of proposed measures.