Legal reasoning, good citizens, and the criminal law



Duff RA (2018) Legal reasoning, good citizens, and the criminal law. Jurisprudence, 9 (1), pp. 120-131.

I discuss some of the roles that lay people play in relation to the criminal law, and how that law should figure in their practical reasoning: this will also cast light on the place of criminal law in a democratic republic. The two roles discussed in this paper are those of citizen, and juror. Citizens should be able to respect the law as their law – as a common law; but this must be a critical respect, captured in the idea of ‘law abidance’ as a civic virtue. Jurors are tasked with making normative judgments of guilt or innocence, as part of a process through which those accused of criminal wrongdoing are called to answer to their fellow citizens: they must therefore be able to understand the law, and make it their own – which raises the question of whether jury nullification can be an appropriate response to unjust laws.

Criminal law; roles; citizens; respect for law; law abidance; jurors; criminal trial; jury nullification

Jurisprudence: Volume 9, Issue 1

Publication date31/12/2018
Publication date online25/09/2017
Date accepted by journal01/08/2017
PublisherTaylor and Francis

People (1)


Professor Antony Duff

Professor Antony Duff

Emeritus Professor, Philosophy