What are the legal different between murder and manslaughter?

Murder is the one of the popular offense. Its history can be traced far back from the origin of human civilization. Murder is termed to be against the law of man and the law of God. 

On another hand, manslaughter might not be a new term to you (I will explain it in the course of showing the difference). 

It is something closely related to the murder. What differentiates murder and manslaughter in the eyes of law? I urge you to read further to find the answer.

The following are the difference between murder and manslaughter in the eyes of the law

1. Meaning and ingredients of Murder and Manslaughter

In technical terms murder is causing the death of another with malice aforethought by an unlawful act or omission. 

In simple terms, murder is killing with intention. While Manslaughter is causing the death of another by an unlawful act or omission without malice aforethought. 

In simple terms, manslaughter is killing with no intention.

Therefore the first difference between manslaughter and murder is the absence of malice aforethought/intention in manslaughter and presence of it is murder.

The question which might come to your mind now is how can a person kill without an intention? In the eyes of the law, it is possible.

A person is termed to kill without malice aforethought in the following circumstances

>When a person kill out of the disease of mind/insanity
>When a person kill under duress/coercion
>When a person Kill under the influence of drugs/intoxication
> When a person kill out of provocation

I have covered about insanity, duress, intoxication, and provocation on Criminal law defenses that you may raise in a criminal case

Generally, the line between murder and manslaughter is very narrow. That line is drawn by ascertaining the intention of the offender. The intention of the offender can be obtained by looking at the circumstance of the offense.

When A intentionally wants to kill B by shooting. Accidently B escape and the bullet shot C and died. Here A will be liable of Murder of C regardless his intention was to kill B.

 it doesn’t matter whether the person intended to be killed is the one actually killed or not. This situation is technically known as ‘the Doctrine of Transferred Malice’.

The above example emphasizes the importance of intention in offense of murder and manslaughter.

2. Punishment of Murder and Manslaughter

This is the second thing that differentiates murder and manslaughter. The punishment of Murder is death by hanging while the punishment of Manslaughter may be imprisonment for certain years or for life. 

However, the death penalty has received mass critics and some countries have abolished it.

3. Bail on  Murder and Manslaughter

In Tanzania and most common law countries Murder is not bailable but manslaughter is bailable.


This article revealed the major difference between murder and manslaughter. It explained that the main difference between murder and manslaughter is intention.

Do you agree with the death penalty? Comment below

I hope you find this post useful. Share this post to spread this knowledge with others

The following is another legal issue which you might be interested to read

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post