This course examines and evaluates theories of law through the perspective of the criminal law. It has been supposed that criminal law may be understood as an application of certain tenets of liberal moral and political philosophy. But the rapid development of criminal laws in Australia and elsewhere over the last 50 years and the co-evolution and fragmentation of notions of personhood, citizenship, and community challenges this assumption. The course surveys leading theories of criminal law and attempts to use them to critically assess the evolving mix of criminal law doctrines, practices and procedures in place in legal systems such as those of Australia. Topics include the nature of criminal responsibility, the moral limits of the criminal law, objects of criminalisation and legal subjectivity. This unit satisfies the Part 3 (Jurisprudence) requirement of the JD.
2 x 2hr seminars/wk
Class participation (10%), oral presentationn (10%), 1000wd report (20%), and 4000wd research essay (60%).