In the field of criminal law we should be used to the House of Lords changing its mind. In the course of the past three years the House has fundamentally altered its view on the meaning of intention, on the relationship between statutory and common law conspiracy and on the law of impossible attempts. Now we have another about turn. In R. v. Howe and Bannister the House of Lords has unanimously decided that duress can never be a defence to murder. Yet elsewhere in the criminal law (with the exception of some forms of treason) duress operates as a complete defence, leading to acquittal if raised successfully. In making murder an exception to this general rule the House, using its power under the Practice Statement of 1966, has departed from its previous decision in D.P.P. for Northern Ireland v. Lynch which allowed the defence of duress to be raised by principals in the second degree to murder. The Lynch decision, which had stood as part of the common law for some twelve years, is now consigned to the legal scrapheap.