‘Dominion’ and Censure

Andrew von Hirsch and Andrew Ashworth

in Censure and Sanctions

Published in print February 1996 | ISBN: 9780198262411
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682339 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Monographs on Criminal Law and Justice

‘Dominion’ and Censure

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Among recent critiques of the desert model is one by a sociologist and a philosopher, John Braithwaite and Phillip Pettit. They consider the whole idea of sentences apportioned to the gravity of offences to be mistaken, and offer an alternative, consequentialist theory of justice that supposedly would decide sentencing policy better. Braithwaite and Pettit wish to retain the forward-looking and aggregative features of the utilitarian calculus. They are troubled, however, by the calculus's seeming disregard of the person. Their solution, essentially, is to retain the calculus but change its measure from utility to something that would give greater emphasis to persons' capacity for choice. They term this something else ‘dominion’. The argument for proportionate sanctions was made on reprobative grounds: punishments convey censure or blame, and hence should be ordered according to the degree of blameworthiness of the conduct.

Keywords: desert model; John Braithwaite; Phillip Pettit; sentences; justice; utilitarian calculus; dominion; proportionate sanctions; punishments; censure

Chapter.  3658 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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