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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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Rule-Violations and Wrongdoings

Rule-Violations and Wrongdoings

(p.47) 3 Rule-Violations and Wrongdoings
Criminal Law Theory


Oxford University Press

Some moral considerations are action-guiding, while others guide judgements on or reactions to actions and their agents, rather than directly guiding such actions. Two such kinds of consideration are relevant here: one concerns excuses, the other renders blame or criticism inappropriate. The distinction between action-guiding and judgement-guiding considerations that can be found within morality has a close analogue in the criminal law. Some aspects of the criminal law define criminally wrongful actions: they declare what citizens must (or may) do (or not do); they define or identify reasons for action. This chapter focuses on three issues: in what terms the rules for citizens, or the norms of wrongdoing, address the citizens; how this schema of two kinds of rule or norm can cope with some familiar defences, such as duress; and whether the standard requirements of mens rea or fault belong with the rules for citizens or with the rules for courts.

Keywords:   criminal law, wrongful actions, rules, defences, blame, judgements, excuses, violations, fault

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