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Criminal Law and Cultural Diversity$
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Will Kymlicka, Claes Lernestedt, and Matt Matravers

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199676590

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199676590.001.0001

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Criminal Law and “Culture”

Criminal Law and “Culture”

(p.15) 2 Criminal Law and “Culture”
Criminal Law and Cultural Diversity

Claes Lernestedt

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that while both forward- and backward-looking considerations operate within the criminal law, the latter should have considerable weight in the rules for ascribing responsibility. Issues of cultural defenses and cultural evidence are then situated within this general framework. In some situations cultural evidence is required for defendants to be treated equally before the law in its most narrow, demanding sense. In others, taking into account cultural factors amounts to preferential treatment. Thus, the either–or approach to cultural evidence is unsustainable, and more refined criteria for evaluating cultural evidence are needed. The idea of a formal cultural defense is rejected in favor of cultural considerations being integrated into criminal law’s image of the responsible person.

Keywords:   blameworthiness, criminal law, cultural defenses, cultural evidence, preferential treatment, responsibility

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