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Criminal Law TheoryDoctrines of the General Part$
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Stephen Shute and Andrew Simester

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199243495

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199243495.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 September 2021

On the General Part in Criminal Law

On the General Part in Criminal Law

(p.1) 1 On the General Part in Criminal Law
Criminal Law Theory



Oxford University Press

Doctrines of criminalisation, such as the harm principle, rightly belong in the general part of the criminal law. The main reason why this truth may seem odd is that the general part is often thought to comprise legal doctrines that are directly justiciable, albeit cast in general form. Hence, the rules governing attempt liability may be invoked in order to convict defendants of a variety of criminal offences. But the general part also contains other types of doctrine, which need be neither legally mandatory nor even justiciable. Advisory norms, such as those collected in the ‘rule of law’ and in the ‘harm principle’, are included. The definitions of knowledge, belief, and recklessness have general application in that they apply across a range of offences in which they are part of the mens rea requirement. This chapter discusses the generality of the general part, the motif of criminality, varieties of general part doctrine, and the wrongness of criminal acts.

Keywords:   criminalisation, criminal law, general part, criminality, wrongness, criminal acts, harm principle, criminal offences

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