The Normative Basis for the <i>Actus Reus</i> Requirement

Michael S. Moore

in Act and Crime

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780199599509
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191594656 | DOI:
The Normative Basis for the Actus Reus Requirement

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The normative justifications for the actus reus requirement are usually gathered under one rubric, the so-called ‘principle of legality.’ ‘The’ principle is in reality an amalgam of nine legal doctrines overlappingly justified by four different values (fairness, equality, liberty, and democracy). These values collectively justify limiting punishments to acts clearly prescribed in advance by criminal legislation. They only provide a limited justification for why retributive justice is served by observing the formalities demanded by the principle.

Keywords: actus reus; legality; notice; retroactivity; fairness; liberty

Chapter.  2245 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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