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Allowing for Exceptions – A Theory of Defences and Defeasibility in Law - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Allowing for Exceptions: A Theory of Defences and Defeasibility in Law

Luís Duarte d'Almeida


You find yourself in a court of law, accused of having hit someone. What can you say to avoid conviction? One thing you can do is simply to deny the accusation: ‘No’, you claim, ‘I didn’t do it.’ But suppose you did do it. You may then give a different answer. ‘Yes, I hit him’, you grant, ‘but it was self-defence’; or ‘Yes, but I was acting under duress.’ To answer in this way—to offer a ‘Yes, but… ’ reply—is to hold that your particular wrong was committed in exceptional circumstances. Perhaps it is true that, as a rule, wrongdoers ought to be convicted. But in your case the court should set ... More

Keywords: accusations, burden of proof, criminal law, criminal responsibility, defeasibility, defences, exceptions, legal proof, legal reasoning, offences and defences

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780199685783
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199685783.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Luís Duarte d'Almeida, author
Chancellor's Fellow in Law, University of Edinburgh

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