The Doctrines of Liability

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



This chapter discusses the doctrines of liability that contribute to the liability function. It also reports an example of each of the functional analysis that suggests some less obvious failures, failures both in setting culpability requirements and in formulating excuse defences. The Model Penal Code replaces the common law ‘offence analysis’ notion that each offence has a single culpability requirement with ‘element analysis’. It is noted that, where an actor seeks excuse on a claim that he lacked adequate ability to control his conduct, the jury should inquire into the actual extent of the impairment to determine whether it is enough to render him blameless for his violation.


doctrines of liability, excuse defences, functional analysis, Model Penal Code, culpability

Publication Title

Structure and Function in Criminal Law