Chapter

<i>Excusing Strict Liability Crime: A Liberal Account beyond the Common Law Agenda</i>

Jeremy Horder

in Excusing Crime

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780199225781
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191715174 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199225781.003.0007

Series: Oxford Monographs on Criminal Law and Justice

Excusing Strict Liability Crime: A Liberal Account beyond the Common Law Agenda

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The key advance in R v Sault Ste Marie is the recognition that, in theory, even if D is only too well aware that he or she may be committing an offence (i.e., D has subjective mens rea), if all reasonable steps were taken to avoid committing it then that in itself is a sufficient ground for excuse. This chapter gives this approach a sound theoretical foundation, one that goes beyond Hart's alternative to common law subjectivism, the ‘fair opportunity’ doctrine. Although it could be defended in other ways, this foundation is connected to the liberal defence of an ‘active’ account of well-being, wherein the (excusatory) emphasis is on people's wholehearted efforts. This ought to be regarded as opening the way to other excuses whose primary relevance is to regulatory offences, such as reasonable ignorance of the law.

Keywords: common law; regulatory crime; excuses; reasonable ignorance

Chapter.  22665 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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