Book Chapter

Presuming Innocence



Duff RA (2012) Presuming Innocence. In: Zedner L & Roberts J (eds.) Principles and Values in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice: Essays in honour of Andrew Ashworth. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 51-66.

I discuss two questions about the meaning and implications of the Presumption of Innocence. First, is it consistent with laying either an evidential or a persuasive burden on the defendant at trial? I argue that it can be consistent with laying an evidential burden, once the prosecution proves the commission of what can properly be counted as a presumptive wrong. Second, should we understand ‘innocence’ in this context in purely legal terms, as innocence of what the law defines as an offense; or in more moralised terms? I argue for a strict formal reading of ‘innocence.’

Presumption of innocence; burdens of proof; reverse burdens; reasonable doubt; legal and moral innocence

Publication date31/12/2012
PublisherOxford University Press
Publisher URL
Place of publicationOxford

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Professor Antony Duff

Professor Antony Duff

Emeritus Professor, Philosophy