Strict Liability and the Purpose of Punishment

Item Type Journal paper

The main argument of this article is that only a clear conception of the purpose of punishment can orient the debate about the positioning of the fault requirement and strict liability doctrine in criminal law. A categorization of the varieties of strict liability offenses, as well as an adequate model for normatively appraising the legitimacy of these deviations from the principle of culpability, should be based on a systematic analysis of criminal law’s role and function in society. As is argued, the original purpose of criminal law consists in the stabilization of norms by means of punishment. Taking up that finding, this work provides a detailed view of the distinct mechanism of placing blame, allowing for the presentation of a clear scheme for categorizing and appraising the variety of strict liability offenses. It is stated that offenses substantively deviating from the standard mechanism of placing blame can potentially result in over-punishment, which is dysfunctional and not justifiable. Properly placing blame is essential for the appropriate fulfillment of criminal law’s purpose in society. Therefore, the claim of the principle of culpability and critiques of strict liability doctrine find their basis not only in considerations of fairness, but also social necessity. By presenting a systematic categorization of strict liability offenses, this research offers a clear approach to a frequently discussed doctrine and establishes new arguments against its legitimacy.

Authors Simmler, Monika
Journal or Publication Title New Criminal Law Review
Language English
Subjects law
HSG Classification contribution to scientific community
HSG Profile Area LS - Business Enterprise - Law, Innovation and Risk
Refereed Yes
Date 27 November 2020
Publisher University of California Press
Volume Vol. 23
Number No. 4
Page Range 516-564
Number of Pages 49
ISSN 1933-4192
ISSN-Digital 1933-4206
Publisher DOI
Depositing User Dr. Monika Simmler
Date Deposited 27 Nov 2020 08:02
Last Modified 27 Nov 2020 08:03


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Simmler, Monika (2020) Strict Liability and the Purpose of Punishment. New Criminal Law Review, Vol. 23 (No. 4). 516-564. ISSN 1933-4192

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