R v Vickers [1957]

R v Vickers [1957] 3 WLR 326; [1957] 2 QB 664 is an English criminal law case establishing the mens rea (mental element) required for murder.

The appellant was involved in a burglary, and when confronted by the elderly house owner, he struck her multiple times to prevent recognition. Unfortunately, the woman died as a result of the injuries inflicted during the confrontation.

The appellant appealed his murder conviction, contending that he did not intend to kill the woman. He argued that, under Section 1(1) of the Homicide Act 1957, the killing should only be considered murder if done with the same malice aforethought as required for a non-felony-related murder.

The Court of Appeal upheld the murder conviction, asserting that the mens rea of murder involves the intention to either kill or cause grievous bodily harm. The court clarified that this mens rea standard was distinct from the abolished concept of constructive malice, which used to consider even minor violence during the commission of another felony offence as murder if the victim unexpectedly died.

The key precedent set by this case is that the mens rea of murder is satisfied by the intention to cause either death or grievous bodily harm.
Back to blog

UOL Case Bank

Upon joining, you become a valuable UOL student and gain instant access to over 2,100 case summaries. UOL Case Bank is constantly expanding. Speed up your revision with us now.

Subscribe Now

Where are our students from?

Yale University
Council of Europe
Baker Mckenzie 
University of Chicago
Columbia University
New York University
University of Michigan 
University College London (UCL)
London School of Economics (LSE)
King’s College London (KCL)
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Zurich
University of York
Brandeis University
University of Exeter
University of Sheffield
Boston University
University of Washington
University of Leeds
University of Law
Royal Holloway, University of London 
Birkbeck, University of London
SOAS, University of London
University of Kent
University of Hull
Queen’s University Belfast
Toronto Metropolitan University
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University of Buckingham

  • Criminal Practice

    Diagrams and Charts

    Our carefully designed diagrams and charts will guide you through complex legal issues.

  • Criminal Law

    Clear and Succinct Definitions

    Key concepts are concisely defined to help you understand legal topics quickly.

  • Property Law

    Statutory Provisions

    Statutory provisions are provided side by side with legal concepts to help you swiftly locate the relevant legislation.

  • Public Law

    Case Summaries

    We have summarised important cases for you so that you don't need to read long and boring cases.

  • Evidence

    Rules and Exceptions

    Rules and exceptions are clearly listed so that you know when a rule applies and when it doesn't.

  • Company Law


    Legal terms and key concepts are explained at the beginning of each chapter to help you learn efficiently.

  • Case Law

    Case law is provided side by side with legal concepts so that you know how legal principles and precedents were established.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Law Essay Guide

    You will learn essential law exam skills and essay writing techniques that are not taught in class.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Problem Question Guide

    We will show you how to answer problem questions step by step to achieve first-class results.

  • Conflict of Laws

    Structured Explanations

    Complex legal concepts are broken down into concise and digestible bullet point explanations.

  • Legal System and Method

    Legal Research

    You will learn legal research techniques with our study guide and become a proficient legal researcher.

  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory


    All essential concepts, principles, and case law are included so that you can answer exam questions quickly.