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In Search of Criminal Responsibility: Ideas, Interests, and Institutions
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In Search of Criminal Responsibility: Ideas, Interests, and Institutions (Hardback)

£79.00
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Synopsis

What makes someone responsible for a crime and therefore liable to punishment under the criminal law? Modern lawyers will quickly and easily point to the criminal law's requirement of concurrent actus reus and mens rea, doctrines of the criminal law which ensure that someone will only be found criminally responsible if they have committed criminal conduct while possessing capacities of understanding, awareness, and self-control at the time of

offense. Any notion of criminal responsibility based on the character of the offender, meaning an implication of criminality based on reputation or the assumed disposition of the person, would seem to today's criminal lawyer a relic of the 18th Century. In this volume, Nicola Lacey demonstrates that the practice of

character-based patterns of attribution was not laid to rest in 18th Century criminal law, but is alive and well in contemporary English criminal responsibility-attribution.



Building upon the analysis of criminal responsibility in her previous book, Women, Crime, and Character, Lacey investigates the changing nature of criminal responsibility in English law from the mid-18th Century to the early 21st Century. Through a combined philosophical, historical, and socio-legal approach, this volume evidences how the theory behind criminal responsibility has shifted over time. The character and outcome responsibility which dominated criminal law in the 18th

Century diminished in ideological importance in the following two centuries, when the idea of responsibility as founded in capacity was gradually established as the core of criminal law. Lacey traces the historical trajectory of responsibility into the 21st Century, arguing that ideas of character responsibility

and the discourse of responsibility as founded in risk are enjoying a renaissance in the modern criminal law. These ideas of criminal responsibility are explored through an examination of the institutions through which they are produced, interpreted and executed; the interests which have shaped both doctrines and institutions; and the substantive social functions which criminal law and punishment have been expected to perform at different points in history.

Nicola Lacey is School Professor of Law, Gender and Social Policy at the London School of Economics. From 2010 until September 2013 she was Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, and Professor of Criminal Law and Legal Theory at the University of Oxford. She has held a number of visiting appointments, most recently at Harvard Law School and at New York University Law School. She is an Honorary Fellow of New College Oxford and of University College Oxford, an Honorary Bencher of the Inner Temple, and a Fellow of the British Academy. She is an elected member of the Council of Liberty, and served as a member of the British Academy's Policy Group on Prisons, which reported in 2014. In 2011, she was awarded the Hans Sigrist Prize by the University of Bern, for scholarship on the rule of law in modern societies.

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