Principles of Imputation

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Book Chapter

Publication Date



This chapter attempts to establish that a conceptual grouping of equal importance to the definition of offences and general defences should be recognized: doctrines of imputation. It also discusses the doctrines that make up this conceptual group and demonstrates their shared operation in imputing a required offence element. In addition, it illustrates that, beyond the shared operational character, these doctrines share common theories and rationales. In general, the definition of an offence describes the elements normally required to hold an actor liable for the offence; it is that offence's paradigm for liability. Despite the absence of a required element of the definition, however, an actor may be held liable for the offence if a doctrine imputes the absent elements.


doctrines of imputation, offences, general defences, liability

Publication Title

Structure and Function in Criminal Law