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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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Making Criminal Law Known

Making Criminal Law Known

(p.103) 5 Making Criminal Law Known
Criminal Law Theory


Oxford University Press

Criminal statutes specify the necessary and sufficient conditions under which a conviction may be returned. Frequently, definitions of crimes are difficult for anyone not a lawyer to understand. If we are to take seriously the idea that criminal law is to guide conduct, we should take greater care to ensure that people actually know what is required of them. This chapter is a response to Paul Robinson and Antony Duff concerning their views about a code of conduct for citizens and whether it should include a reference to mental states. It argues that some elements of civil law need to be included in a proper account of the distinction between justification and excuse and a code of advice for citizens, and that the starting point for an account of the relationship between criminal law and citizen should be the rights (especially the human rights) of the citizen, not a conception of the major criminal proscriptions.

Keywords:   criminal law, Paul Robinson, Antony Duff, code of conduct, civic code, mental states, crimes, justification, excuse, civil law

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