Criminal Law, the Victim and Community: The Shades of ‘We’ and the Conceptual Involvement of Community in Contemporary Criminal Law Theory
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.
KeywordsCriminal law Community Victim Criminalisation Offender State Conflict
- Anttila, I. (2001). Ad Ius Criminale Humanius: Essays in criminology, criminal justice and criminal policy (edited by R. Lahti & P. Törnudd). Helsinki: Finnish Lawyers’ Association.Google Scholar
- Ashworth, A. (1999). Principles of criminal law (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Bottoms, A. (1995). The philosophy and politics of punishment and sentencing. In C. M. V. Clarkson & R. Morgan (Eds.), The politics of sentencing reform (pp. 17–50). Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
- Braithwaite, J. (2002). Restorative justice & responsive regulation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Christie, N. (1977). Conflicts as property. British Journal of Criminology, 17(1), 1–15.Google Scholar
- Christie, N. (1986). The ideal victim. In E. Fattah (Ed.), From crime policy to victim policy (pp. 17–40). New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
- Crawford, A. (1997). The local governance of crime. In M. Wasik, Th. Gibbons & M. Redmayne (Ed.), Criminal justice (extract 1.5.7, pp. 70–77). London: Longman.Google Scholar
- Dignityindying (2009). A law out of step. http://www.dignityindying.org.uk/includes/spaw2/uploads/files/A%20law%20out%20of%20step.pdf. Accessed 10 June 2011.
- Duff, R.A. (2010). Towards a theory of criminal law? Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society. Supplementary Vol. lxxxiv. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8349.2010.00183.x.
- Dworkin, R. (1977). Taking rights seriously. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Giddens, A. (2009). Sociology (6th ed.). Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
- Jareborg, N. (1995). What kind of criminal law do we want? In A. Snare (Ed.), Beware of punishment: On the utility and futility of criminal law (pp. 17–36). Oslo: Pax Vorlag.Google Scholar
- Kleinig, J. (2000). The burdens of situational crime prevention: An ethical commentary. In A. von Hirsch, D. Garland, & A. Wakefield (Eds.), Ethical and social perspectives on situational crime prevention (pp. 37–58). Oxford: Hart Publishing.Google Scholar
- Lernestedt, C. (2013). Victim and society: Sharing wrongs, but in which roles? Criminal Law and Philosophy. doi: 10.1007/s11572-012-9188-3.
- Lords Hansard (2009). 18 May 2009: Column 1273. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200809/ldhansrd/text/90518-0011.htm. Accessed 25 July 2012.
- Peršak, N. (2007). Criminalising harmful conduct: The harm principle, its limits and continental counterparts. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Peršak, N. (2012). Building justice through criminal law: Issues of criminalisation and trust. In K. Goodall, M. Malloch, & B. Munro (Eds.), Building justice in post-transition Europe? Processes of criminalisation within central and eastern European societies (pp. 43–55). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Roxin, K. (2005). Strafrecht. Allgemeiner Teil, Band I, Grundlagen. Der Aufbau der Verbrechenslehre. München: Beck.Google Scholar
- Tham, H. (2012). The arrogance of power—The Swedish example. ESC Newsletter, 13(1), 2–3.Google Scholar
- Tombs, S., & Hillyard, P. (2004). Towards a political economy or harm: states, corporations and the production of inequality. In P. Hillyard, C. Pantazis, S. Tombs, & D. Gordon (Eds.), Beyond criminology: Taking harm seriously (pp. 30–55). London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
- Tyler, T. R. (2009). Legitimacy and criminal justice: The benefits of self-regulation. Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, 7, 307–359.Google Scholar
- von Hirsch, A., Ashworth, A., & Shearing, C. (2004). Restorative justice: A ‘making amends’ model? In A. von Hirsch & A. Ashworth (Eds.), Proportionate sentencing: Exploring the principles (pp. 110–130). Oxford: Hart Publishing.Google Scholar
- Ward, T. (2004). State harms. In P. Hillyard, C. Pantazis, S. Tombs, & D. Gordon (Eds.), Beyond criminology: Taking harm seriously (pp. 84–101). London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
- Webber, F. (2004). The war on migration. In P. Hillyard, C. Pantazis, S. Tombs, & D. Gordon (Eds.), Beyond criminology: Taking harm seriously (pp. 133–156). London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
- Wilson, J. Q., & Kelling, G. L. (1982). Broken windows: The police and neighbourhood safety. Atlantic Monthly, 249, 28–38.Google Scholar