The Basic Organizing Distinctions of Current Law
This chapter describes the basic organising distinctions of current law. The most basic of this organising distinction is between offences and defences, but that distinction is problematic when one examines how current law actually operates. It also discusses the current operational structure. Most criminal law doctrines operate in one of three ways. First, a doctrine may define what constitutes an offence. Secondly, a doctrine may define the conditions under which an actor will be acquitted even though he satisfies the elements of an offence. As noted, such a doctrine typically is called a defence, and perhaps more accurately is called a general defence. Thirdly, a doctrine may define the conditions under which an actor will be held liable even though he does not satisfy the elements of an offence — the reverse of a defence. Within each of these three groups of doctrines, the law relies upon a variety of other organising distinctions.
criminal law, organising distinction, offences, defences, doctrine
Structure and Function in Criminal Law
Robinson, Paul, "The Basic Organizing Distinctions of Current Law" (1997). Book Chapters. 159.