Andrews v DPP – Case Summary

Andrews v DPP

House of Lords

Citations: [1937] AC 576.


The defendant was convicted of manslaughter by dangerous driving after he collided with a pedestrian and killed him. The defendant had been speeding and had driven excessively into the off side of the road while trying to overtake another car. He appealed his conviction, arguing that the judge had misdirected the jury on the standard of dangerous driving required for the manslaughter offence.

  1. What standard of dangerous driving is required for the offence of manslaughter by dangerous driving?

The House of Lords upheld the defendant’s conviction. The judge’s direction was open to criticism. However, the judge had properly asked the jury to consider whether the defendant had been highly negligent. This was correct. On the evidence, a conviction was inevitable.

This Case is Authority For…

To establish manslaughter by dangerous driving, the jury must believe that the driver was so negligent that the case goes beyond mere civil compensation. The defendant must have demonstrated such disregard for life that it is properly a crime.

This is the same standard applied to the offence of gross negligence manslaughter. Lord Atkin held that the same standard applies to all negligence-based homicide offences.


The standard of dangerous driving required for manslaughter is higher than the standard for the offence of dangerous driving. It is possible to acquit the defendant of manslaughter but still convict him of the offence of dangerous driving. This is because a lesser standard of negligence is required for the latter offence.