In Search of Criminal Responsibility
Ideas, Interests, and Institutions
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offense. Any notion of criminal responsibility based on the character of the offender, meaning an implication of criminality based on reputation or the assumed disposition of the person, would seem to today's criminal lawyer a relic of the 18th Century. In this volume, Nicola Lacey demonstrates that the practice of
character-based patterns of attribution was not laid to rest in 18th Century criminal law, but is alive and well in contemporary English criminal responsibility-attribution.
Building upon the analysis of criminal responsibility in her previous book, Women, Crime, and Character, Lacey investigates the changing nature of criminal responsibility in English law from the mid-18th Century to the early 21st Century. Through a combined philosophical, historical, and socio-legal approach, this volume evidences how the theory behind criminal responsibility has shifted over time. The character and outcome responsibility which dominated criminal law in the 18th
Century diminished in ideological importance in the following two centuries, when the idea of responsibility as founded in capacity was gradually established as the core of criminal law. Lacey traces the historical trajectory of responsibility into the 21st Century, arguing that ideas of character responsibility
and the discourse of responsibility as founded in risk are enjoying a renaissance in the modern criminal law. These ideas of criminal responsibility are explored through an examination of the institutions through which they are produced, interpreted and executed; the interests which have shaped both doctrines and institutions; and the substantive social functions which criminal law and punishment have been expected to perform at different points in history.
5: Explaining the Shifting Alignment of Ideas of Responsibility in the Vortex of Interests and Institutions: Towards a Political Economy of Responsibility in English Criminal Law
6: Implications for Legal Theory and Legal Scholarship
an Honorary Bencher of the Inner Temple, and a Fellow of the British Academy. She is an elected member of the Council of Liberty, and served as a member of the British Academy's Policy Group on Prisons, which reported in 2014. In 2011, she was awarded the Hans Sigrist Prize by the University of Bern,
for scholarship on the rule of law in modern societies.