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Conduct And Proof Of Conduct — Two Fundamental Conditions For The Imposition Of Criminal Liability

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Chapter Summary

This chapter shows that two fundamental conditions - a conduct requirement and a proof of conduct requirement - must be satisfied as a prerequisite for any criminal conviction. While compliance with these two conditions is compatible with a harsh and human rights insensitive criminal law, consistent observance of these conditions is essential if the criminal law is to constitute a distinctive domain distinguishable from other forms of coercion that a State may deploy against its citizens. There is one extreme form of strict liability long permitted in English law, a form of absolute liability known as the status offence. Status offences have, of course, been associated with some of the worst perversions of the criminal process. The prohibitory norm is belonging to an organisation that is in fact proscribed albeit that a fairer version of the offence might require knowledge of the proscription.

Keywords: conduct requirement; criminal liability; English law; prohibitory norm



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