Skip to main content
The Meanings of Dishonesty in Theft
Common Law World Review (2009)
  • Alex Steel, University of New South Wales
This paper examines the development of the element of fraudulence in larceny and its recasting as dishonesty in modern theft offences. It examines the diverging approaches in England, Canada, New Zealand and Australia and attempts to explain the implications of the various approaches. It suggests that historical debates over the term arose because of the lack of clarity in early decisions, and that those debates continue today. Consequently, the principled basis for dishonesty as a legal term remains fundamentally unclear and discussion of the term requires further consideration.
  • theft,
  • larceny,
  • dishonesty,
  • fraudulence,
  • fraudulently,
  • legal history,
  • mens rea,
  • comparative law
Publication Date
Citation Information
Alex Steel. "The Meanings of Dishonesty in Theft" Common Law World Review Vol. 38 (2009)
Available at: