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The Constitution of the Criminal Law$
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R.A. Duff, Lindsay Farmer, S.E. Marshall, Massimo Renzo, and Victor Tadros

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199673872

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673872.001.0001

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What Constitutes Criminal Law?

What Constitutes Criminal Law?

Chapter:
(p.12) 2 What Constitutes Criminal Law?
Source:
The Constitution of the Criminal Law
Author(s):

Nicola Lacey

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673872.003.0002

This chapter addresses two familiar questions — what defines the specific object of criminal as opposed to civil law, and what legitimizes criminalization — from the perspective of the historical constitution of English criminal law. It traces how that history echoes within, and sheds light upon, the contemporary politics of criminalization. It argues that the history of English criminal law has been marked by an underlying tension about who has the power and authority to define crime — the lawyer or the lay person. It concludes by exploring the degree to which that tension, albeit in different form, continues to haunt English criminal law today.

Keywords:   English criminal law, criminalization, constitution, civil law

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