The Rise of Regulation and the Fate of the Common Law

Jeremy Horder

in Homicide and the Politics of Law Reform

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199561919
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191743306 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Monographs on Criminal Law and Justice

The Rise of Regulation and the Fate of the Common Law

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This chapter examines the rising influence of regulatory thinking on homicide law reform. The traditional common law approach to homicide reform has laid stress on offence definition through general rules expressed in ordinary language. It is, though, regulatory thinking that predominates in the shaping of an increasing number of modern homicide offences. Regulatory thinking, unlike common law thinking, employs more specialised, less morally loaded language to define offences. It is targeted at those engaging in specialised activities like driving, rather than being general in character. It is less concerned than the common law with issues of fault or even with causation. It is argued that the bureaucratic approach to homicide offending is an ineradicable feature of the modern state that will continue to co-exist alongside common law thinking about reform. Some of the most significant modern homicide offences, such as corporate manslaughter, take something from both kinds of approach.

Keywords: common law; bureaucratic law; regulatory law; corporate manslaughter

Chapter.  12210 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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