, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 205-215
Date: 06 Oct 2012

Criminal Law, the Victim and Community: The Shades of ‘We’ and the Conceptual Involvement of Community in Contemporary Criminal Law Theory

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Abstract

The article addresses the argument, put forward by Lernestedt, that the proprietor of the ‘criminal-law conflict’ is the community (or the community and the offender) and discusses his proposed theoretical model of criminal law trial. I raise questions regarding the legitimacy of such a model, focusing on four counts. Firstly, I assert that his assumptions about the state the individual and the old/new versions of criminal law theory are society-dependent. Secondly, I address some problems with the concept of community and particularly with the proposed conception of community, which seems to mostly exclude the offender. Thirdly, I question the need for (or added value of) such a proposed conceptual involvement of the community as an actor in the criminal law process and theory. Lastly, some potential problems with the idea of the victim as a mere “representative of us” are mentioned, including the possibly undesirable demands and limitations on the victim’s agency and issues of respect for the victim’s individuality.