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Central Issues in Criminal Theory - William Wilson

Central Issues in Criminal Theory

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Coercive rules and their implementation are, in liberal democratic societies at least, subject to ethical constraints. The state's moral authority requires these constraints to be both cogent and effectively realized in doctrine. In short, the enterprise of subjecting individuals to coercive rules must be consistent with the delivery of criminal justice. Contemporary criminal theory is much exercised by the apparent contradictions and ambiguities characterizing criminal law doctrine. Is this an inevitable part of the territory leading us to the question the very possibility of criminal law delivering justice? Or, as the author prefers, is criminal justice an achievement in which one of the tasks of criminal theory is to set goals and identify deficiencies in a constant effort to improve the form and content of rules and procedures? Informed by this premise the book explores some of the key questions in criminal theory, addressing first the ethics of criminalization and punishment. It continues with the examination of the structure of criminal liability with its emphasis on separating consideration of the objective conditions of wrongdoing from the features which make a person responsible for it. Finally it examines attempts and accessoryship with a view to exploring the doctrinal tensions which may arise when competing justifications for criminalization and punishment collide.

Industry Reviews

...astounding wealth of arguments discussed and the astuteness and brilliance of the analysis... Carl-Friedrich Stuckenberg, Criminal Law Forum, 2004 Wilson has produced a book that is relatively small but that addresses the basic questions in a logical and coherent manner. Indeed, one of the author's considerable strengths is his ability to explain particularly intricate and often obscure points in simple, comprehensible language. The way in which each chapter begins with a general introduction to the topic, identifying the important issues, is helpful in this regard. Barry Mitchell, Times Higher Education Supplement, February 2004 Wilson's book is a thoughtful contribution to the developing field of theoretical writing about the criminal law. Victor Tadros, Modern Law Review, July 2004 In this engaging, well-written book, William Wilson explores the classic internal questions thrown up by criminal law doctrine. These include the principles underlying the decision to criminalise some behaviour and the nature of punishment, as well as the issues identified as central by many writers since Glanville Williams first published Criminal Law: The General Part 50 years ago. Celia Wells, Cardiff University, Law Quarterly Review, August 2004 The book is well-written, the author has read widely, and the explanation of the positions of the commentators is very good... In sum, the book provides a decent explanation of the position of theory in academic Criminal Law at the start of the twenty-first century, it could be used in undergraduate courses on Criminal Law and it is suited to be a textbook on more advanced, more theoretical, Criminal Law modules. It is also an exemplar of the coming of age of theoretical perspectives in Anglo-Welsh Criminal Law. Michael Jefferson, University of Sheffield, The Law Teacher, September 2004

Introductionp. 1
Criminalising Wrongdoingp. 16
Criminalising Wrongdoingp. 17
The Harm Principlep. 19
Ratcheting Up State Coercionp. 25
Moral Wrongdoingp. 31
Structuring Morality and Autonomyp. 37
Punishing Wrongdoingp. 43
What is Punishment?p. 43
Justifying Punishmentp. 45
Punishment as Social Engineeringp. 47
Punishment as Desertp. 54
Punishment as Communicationp. 61
Reconciling Means and Endsp. 66
Anchoring Punishments and Penalties: Restoration and Vengeancep. 71
Criminal Wrongdoing: Acts and Omissionsp. 77
The Act Requirementp. 78
Acts and Actionsp. 79
Moral Responsibility Without Actionp. 82
Autonomy-Based Objections to Criminalising Omissionsp. 91
Legality-Based Objections to Criminalising Omissionsp. 95
Communicating Wrongdoingp. 99
Criminalising Wrongdoing: Voluntarinessp. 103
Characterising Voluntary Behaviourp. 105
Voluntariness, Defences and the Courtsp. 113
Authorship, Policy and Moral Evaluationp. 116
Authorship and Controlp. 118
Involuntry Omissionsp. 121
Voluntariness: A Variable Standardp. 123
Conclusionp. 125
Intention, Motives and Desertp. 129
Introduction: Mens Rea and Desertp. 129
Intention and Responsibilityp. 135
Intention as a Means of Structuring Liabilityp. 138
Intention as a Means of Structuring Wrongsp. 142
Structuring Homicidep. 144
The Meaning of Intentionp. 149
Intention, Motive and Doctrinal Rationalityp. 156
Causing Harmp. 161
Introductionp. 161
Understanding Causationp. 163
For Which Crimes is there a Causal Requirement?p. 166
How do we Arrive at a Principled Approach to Causation?p. 167
Assigning Causal Responsibilityp. 170
Limiting the Range of Responsible Agentsp. 173
Omissionsp. 186
Attributing Liability to Secondary Partiesp. 195
Accessories as Agentsp. 198
Accessories as Causes or Prime Moversp. 200
Derivative Liability: Tensions and Instabilityp. 203
Withdrawal from Participationp. 212
Complicity and Causation: A Rational Approach to Criminal Attribution?p. 218
Criminal Attemptsp. 225
Conceiving Attemptsp. 226
Criminal Attempts: The Mental Elementp. 232
Incomplete Attemptsp. 235
Voluntary Abandonmentp. 243
Punishing Attempts: The Significance of Resulting Harmp. 249
Impossible Attemptsp. 252
Packaging Criminal Liabilityp. 259
Packaging Wrongdoingp. 259
Wrongdoing and Harmp. 259
Packaging Crimep. 263
Mens Rea and Actus Reusp. 263
Offences and Defencesp. 268
Wrongdoing and Attributionp. 278
Separating Excuses and Justificationsp. 282
Duress and the Citizen's Codep. 289
Criminal Defences: Setting Limits to Justificationsp. 293
Duress, Necessity and Self-Defence: The Basic Templatep. 293
The Necessity to Reactp. 294
Immediacyp. 295
Proportionalityp. 299
Differentiating Duress, Necessity and Self-Defencep. 303
Necessity and Self-Defencep. 306
Setting the Limitsp. 308
The Limits of Self-Defencep. 310
The Limits of Necessityp. 315
Justifying Self-Preservation: Necessity and Duressp. 319
Excusing Wrongdoing: Capacity and Virtuep. 325
Introductionp. 325
Thresholds of Responsibilityp. 327
Embodying Criminal Defencesp. 329
The Capacity Approachp. 333
Free Willp. 336
Drawing the Linep. 338
The Character Approachp. 342
Acting out of characterp. 343
Another Look at Character: Deploying Reasonsp. 352
A Unity to Excuses?p. 356
Bibliographp. 363
Indexp. 377
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781841130620
ISBN-10: 1841130621
Audience: BAC
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 384
Published: 12th November 2002
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 20.96 x 13.97  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.48
Edition Number: 1