Defending the Realm of Criminal Law


Duff RA (2020) Defending the Realm of Criminal Law. Criminal Law and Philosophy, 14 (3), pp. 465-500.

This is a response to ten critiques of my 2018 book The Realm of Criminal Law, by Stephen Bero and Alex Sarch, Kim Ferzan, Stuart Green, Doug Husak, Nicola Lacey, Sandra Mayson, Victor Tadros, Patrick Tomlin, Alec Walen, and Gideon Yaffe. I take the opportunity to explain the main aims and themes of the book, to clarify some of its arguments, and to note some of the ways in which those arguments need expansion, development, or revision. Topics discussed include: the usefulness and limits of ‘rational reconstruction’ as a method of normative theorising; public wrongs and the scope of the criminal law; the idea of civil order as central to a political theory of criminal law; wrongness constraints on criminalization; mala prohibita and regulatory offences; the ‘De Minimis’ principle; and criminal law ‘abolitionism’.

Rational reconstruction; Public wrongs and civil order; Citizenship and jurisdiction; Wrongness constraint; Mala prohibita; De Minimis; Abolitionism

Criminal Law and Philosophy: Volume 14, Issue 3

Publication date31/10/2020
Publication date online14/09/2020
Date accepted by journal03/09/2020