Chapter

The Basic Organizing Distinctions of Current Law

Paul H. Robinson

in Structure and Function in Criminal Law

Published in print September 1997 | ISBN: 9780198258865
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681875 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198258865.003.0002

Series: Oxford Monographs on Criminal Law and Justice

The Basic Organizing Distinctions of Current Law

Show Summary Details

Preview

This chapter describes the basic organising distinctions of current law. The most basic of this organising distinction is between offences and defences, but that distinction is problematic when one examines how current law actually operates. It also discusses the current operational structure. Most criminal law doctrines operate in one of three ways. First, a doctrine may define what constitutes an offence. Secondly, a doctrine may define the conditions under which an actor will be acquitted even though he satisfies the elements of an offence. As noted, such a doctrine typically is called a defence, and perhaps more accurately is called a general defence. Thirdly, a doctrine may define the conditions under which an actor will be held liable even though he does not satisfy the elements of an offence — the reverse of a defence. Within each of these three groups of doctrines, the law relies upon a variety of other organising distinctions.

Keywords: criminal law; organising distinction; offences; defences; doctrine

Chapter.  2095 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.