The Purposive Approach of Lord Justice Godstone in R v Marsh

88 views 4 pages ~ 826 words
Get a Custom Essay Writer Just For You!

Experts in this subject field are ready to write an original essay following your instructions to the dot!

Hire a Writer

Lord Justice Godstone used the Purposive Approach as the principal rule of construction in introducing the role of the Modern Slavery Act of 2015.  Since article 4 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) is the basis of conviction of Mr Marsh, UK judges are obliged to use the purposive approach as a result of applying Europe Union (EU) Laws.[1]

When using this approach the judge considers the reasons why a particular policy is developed and not the literal wording of the law as a result of such a policy originating or interpretation in different languages of European courts.

The Human Rights Act 1998 role is to ensure compatibility between local legislation on human rights and those provided under the Convention rights. Lord Justice Godstone interpretation of Modern Slavery Act 2015 reveals the Act compatibility with Convection rights implying that an individual can be charged with slavery based on both the Act or Article 4 of the HCHR so long as they achieve their decided goal which is in Godstone words to ‘catch and convict…criminals…’ to ‘protect the victims.’[2]

Question Two

As acknowledged by Lord Justice Godstone section 1 of the act is ‘somewhat ambiguous’ whereby there is no clear definition of “slavery” or servitude” which would have a clear indication of whether indeed the actions of Mr Marsh towards Joseph Jones amount to slavery.[3] Lord Justice Godstone uses the content found in the act to that help him find a way of solving the case. He applies Section 1(3) of the Act which grants him the power to consider all the circumstances surrounding the situation whereby the content in the Act is his intrinsic aid.[4]

Lord Justice Godstone also uses extrinsic aid to help him interpret the legislation using a dictionary and Hansard.[5]

He uses a dictionary to define slavery which is not provided under the Act to find a definition of the term which refutes the bias of Mr Marsh appeal as the dictionary includes ‘harsh conditions for low pay’ as slavery[6]. Furthermore, Lord Justice Godstone uses parliament proceeding to determine the intention of lawmakers in passing Bills. 

Question Three

In his defence, Mr Marsh requested the court to consider using ‘the presumption against criminal liability without mens rea in his favour' which means that he did not have criminal intentions while helping Joseph Jones.[7]

In his defence, Mr Marsh applies a similar president set earlier in Sweet v Parsley [1970] AC 132 which overturned the defendant conviction since such offence is classifiable as a true crime as opposed to regulatory.[8]

However, Lord Justice Godstone refutes Mr Marsh defence as he believes that Mr Marsh knew his actions towards Joseph Jones was inhuman and the fact that he may not have known that he was breaking the law is not a not an excuse. Even though Lord Justice Godstone does not mention the same in the case summary, the fact that Mr Marsh crime was of social concern as the country wants to prevent slavery as result of UK being guilty by breach of Article 4 ECHR in C.N v UK 2012 ECHR 1911.[9] Therefore his decision is in line with R v Williams [2011] 1 WLR 588 that aims to protect the public.[10]

Question Four

Mr Marsh has the right to appeal to the supreme law as there is a possibility that Lord Justice Godstone might have erred while giving his judgment. However, Mr Marsh should base his plea under the question of law and request the supreme court to interpret the rule used rather than presenting new facts or witnesses.[11]

Apart from local courts, the UK also bound by other international commitments which they should observe. ECJ is one example of an international court that has jurisdiction in the UK and other members' states.  Despite having jurisdiction in the UK ECJ has limited power when it comes to handling individual cases and instead the local courts represent individuals.  Another example of an international court is ECHR however unlike ECJ it does not have direct jurisdiction in the UK and enforcement of such laws depends on individual countries. Therefore in case, there is no clear way of solving an issue related to human rights violations then local court uses the policies stipulated under the ECHR making the institution highly influential in the UK legal system.


C.N v UK [2012] ECHR 1911.

(Queen’s Bench Division) R v Marsh [11].

R v Williams [2011] 1 WLR 588.

Slorach S, Embley J, Goodchild P, and Shephard C, Legal systems and skills (2nd edn, Oxford

University Press 2015).

Sweet v Parsley [1970] AC 132.

[1] Scott Slorach, Judith Embley, Peter Goodchild, and Catherine Shephard, Legal systems and skills (2nd edn, Oxford University Press 2015) 99.

[2] (Queen’s Bench Division) R v Marsh [6].

[3] ibid [5].

[4] Scott Slorach, Judith Embley, Peter Goodchild, and Catherine Shephard, Legal systems and skills (2nd

edn, Oxford    University Press 2015) 104.

[5] ibid.

[6] (Queen’s Bench Division) R v Marsh [11].

[7] ibid [5].

[8] Sweet v Parsley

[1970] AC 132.

[9] C.N v UK [2012] ECHR 1911.

[10] R v Williams

[2011] 1 WLR 588.

[11] Scott Slorach, Judith Embley, Peter Goodchild, and Catherine Shephard, Legal systems and skills (2nd

edn, Oxford University Press 2015) 60.

December 12, 2023

History Law



Subject area:


Number of pages


Number of words




Writer #



Expertise Court
Verified writer

Love the way Robbe works with legal papers. As a Law student, I had to deliver four different case study assignments. If you are in trouble, just get in touch with Robbe, and he will get things fixed for you!

Hire Writer

This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Eliminate the stress of Research and Writing!

Hire one of our experts to create a completely original paper even in 3 hours!

Hire a Pro