Oblique intent

Why the name? Well criminal law afficionados will recognise the phrase 'oblique intent' as referring to a problem of mens rea:can a person who intends to do x (such as setting fire to a building to scare the occupants) also be said to have an intention to kill if one of the occupants dies? This is a problem that has consumed an inordinate amount of time in the appeal courts and in the legal journals, and can be taken to represent a certain kind of approach to legal theory. My approach is intended to be more oblique to this mainstream approach, and thus to raise different kinds of questions and issues. Hence the name.

Saturday, 31 December 2011

On the Structures of the Criminal Law

Though coming just too late for Christmas stockings, I would like to recommend The Structures of the Criminal Law, the second book in the Criminalization series from Oxford University Press. (As one of the editors I have to declare an interest). The contributors take on the project of developing new approaches to criminalisation - some of the themes of which have been addressed in this blog. The term 'structures' is used here as a way of grouping together certain themes: how the law is structured (offence/defence, actus reus/mens rea) and whether this can or should inhibit trends in criminalisation; the relation between legal and political structures; and how the law is itself structured by the social and political imagination. This is somewhat broader than the normal understanding of the term in legal thought, and the essays correspondingly range over a wider range of topics than might be expected - but this only makes the collection more interesting and diverse. 

I am not going to identify or comment on individual essays, but will only say that I have learnt a huge amount from reading the papers and discussing the topics with the contributors. So, if you got Amazon vouchers for Christmas, or simply want to give yourself a New Year present, then this might be the book for you. Happy New Year!

[Available directly from the OUP website or from the usual on- and off-line book sellers]

No comments:

Post a Comment