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Abstract

A thorough analysis of the defence of superior orders reveals that it constitutes a plea of reasonably mistaken belief as to the 1awfulness of an unlawful superior order. An exposition is made of the meaning of the expression 'manifestly unlawful’ order contained in several statutory formulations of the defence. As for the common law, it is proposed that the High Court case of A v Hayden does not, contrary to popular opinion, deny the existence of a defence of superior orders. To further enhance our understanding of the defence, its statutory, and common law formulations are compared with the related plea of duress.

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