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Type: Journal article
Title: Benthamite reflections on codification of the general principles of criminal liability: Towards the panopticon
Author: Leader-Elliott, I.
Citation: New Criminal Law Review, 2006; 9(2):391-452
Publisher: University of California Press, Journals Division
Issue Date: 2006
ISSN: 1933-4192
Abstract: Chapter 2 of the Australian Commonwealth Criminal Code codifies the general principles of criminal liability. All federal criminal offences, whether or not they appear in the substant6ive chapters of the Code, are subject to its provisions. Chapter 2 is based on article 2 of the American Model Penal Code and the equivalent general part of the UK Draft Criminal Code. It is, however, a more completely articulated statement of the elements of liability than either of its predecessors. This paper examines the relationship between physical and fault elements in chapter 2. It takes a Benthamite view of its provisions. Though chapter 2 was conceived as a legislative restatement of common law principles of criminal justice it can be expected to play a more significant role as a manual of instructions for the expression of legislative intentions. Chapter 2 enables the legislature to reclaim from courts the authority to define the grounds of criminal liability. There remain, however, areas of uncertainty resulting from the mismatch between the articulate clarity of most chapter 2 provisions and others that envisage the exercise of unstructured judicial discretion. Two issues in particular are discussed: liability for ulterior intentions and the effect of error or ignorance of law on criminal responsibility. The paper proposes enactment of a defense of reasonable mistake of law as a supplement to chapter 2. It concludes with an expression of hope that Australian criminal law theory might be based on a more unified consideration of legisprudence and common law.
RMID: 0020062639
Appears in Collections:Law publications

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