The year and a day rule was an ancient rule of the common law which created a conclusive presumption that a death was not murder (or any other form of homicide) if it occurred more than a year and a day since the act (or omission) that was alleged to have been its cause. The precise scope of the rule was unclear. As Lord Dormand said on second reading in the House of Lords, "it certainly applies to murder, manslaughter, infanticide and aiding and abetting suicide. It may also apply to motoring offences in which death is an element: causing death by dangerous driving; causing death by reckless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs; and aggravated vehicle taking causing death."
The Act has only three sections. Section 1 simply says:
The Act started as a private member's bill introduced by Doug Hoyle MP, who came 16th in the ballot in the 1995/6 Parliamentary session. The Act received Royal Assent on 17 June 1996, and the abolition of the year and a day rule came into effect for acts (or omissions) leading to death on that day.
EDITORIAL: Dead for forever and a day: Virginia law needs to catch up with eight centuries' worth of medical advancements. Lawmakers should abolish the year-and-a-day rule in homicide cases.(Editorial)
Mar 27, 2007; Mar. 27--Make no mistake: Osborne Lee Vaughan became a homicide victim on Sept. 2, 2005, the moment bullets fired by Robert...