Proof of malice in the law of malicious prosecution: a contextual analysis of Commonwealth decisions

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • Abstract:

    English: Generally, malice is a difficult term to define. But, as an element of the law of malicious prosecution, it is likened to spite, ill will or vengeance. In this context, malice represents improper purpose, one alien to the criminal justice system. It emphasises the dominant purpose for the prosecution as to whether it is an improper invocation of the criminal process. Although malice is a separate factor in determining malicious prosecution, it is indeterminate in nature as it tends to overlap with the requirement of reasonable and probable cause. Where the objective sufficiency of the material considered by the prosecutor in deciding to prosecute is satisfied, it is unlikely that malice can be imputed. Whereas from a lack of reasonable and probable cause improper purpose could be inferred. As malice contemplates deliberate intentional act, it is argued that negligence, whatever the degree, will not suffice.