Criminal Law and Philosophy

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 205–215

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

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11572-012-9189-2

Cite this article as:
Peršak, N. Criminal Law, Philosophy (2014) 8: 205. doi:10.1007/s11572-012-9189-2


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.


Criminal lawCommunityVictimCriminalisationOffenderStateConflict

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of LawUniversity of GhentGhentBelgium