If someone would legally be considered DEAD for a period of time¹ and during that period of time they would commit an illegal act, in the UK, could they, during a lawsuit, claim to be innocent because they were dead and thus couldn't have done anything, let alone something illegal?

¹A doctor declared them dead after an injury but they recovered without anyone knowing. (living people can be legally dead)

  • Please specify the jurisdiction where this is taking place. Laws vary throughout the world. May 30, 2018 at 17:52
  • 2
    That may not work if you're planning to spend a year dead for tax reasons... May 31, 2018 at 8:18

2 Answers 2


The word 'alibi' is Latin, meaning "somewhere else".

So the basic premise is that by proving you were somewhere else at the exact time of the crime, you inequivocally prove that you could not have committed the criminal act.

This does not imply you are innocent. You could, for example, have hired someone else to commit the actual act.

It also implies that merely stating you were legally dead at the time, is not an alibi, as 'legally dead' refers to a state of existence, not of location.

Now, being legally dead might make it impossible for you to legally perform certain actions, like signing a contract, which might lead to the justice system being unable to pronounce you guilty of some crime. But that would not be an 'alibi'.

  • 1
    Being in the hospital or a morgue could be an alibi, even if the legal state of death is not.
    – forest
    Jun 1, 2018 at 4:44
  • But since the person is apparently alive today, they must have left the hospital or morgue at some point. Before or after the crime?
    – gnasher729
    Jun 1, 2018 at 6:18

An alibi in itself isn't necessarily a trump card. A legal declaration that you were dead despite being self-evidently alive doesn't seem a persuasive alibi.

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