This module sets out to impart an understanding of the general theoretical issues raised by the criminal law. We will consider the criteria of criminal culpability, including notions such as voluntary actions, causation, intention, foresight, and negligence, and additionally address issues regarding the scope of criminal liability, including the harm principle, paternalism and liability for omissions. Classes will be conducted in a seminar format, with reading set in advance for discussion during the classes. There is no requirement for a common law background or for knowledge of the laws of a particular country, since the issues to be discussed arise in all countries that have a distinct system of criminal law.
Indicative seminar topics:
- The Definition of Crime
- Explanations of Blame
- Acts and Omissions
- The Harm Principle
- Moral Luck: The Place of Attempts Liability
- Duress and Necessity; Justification