This book considers the proper nature and scope of criminal responsibility in the light of its institutional and political role. Tadros begins by providing a general account of criminal responsibility which is based on the relationship between the action that the defendant has performed and his or her character. He then moves on to reconsider some of the central doctrines of criminal responsibility in the light of that account. Part 1 examines the nature of criminal responsibility by exploring what it means for an agent to be responsible for an action and the constraints that there are on holding an agent criminally responsible which arise from the particular social and institutional role that the criminal law has. Tadros develops a character theory of criminal responsibility. Character, he argues, is relevant both in determinig which action an agent is responsible for, as well as the kind of fault that he has in respect of those actions. However, he shows some limitations in the character theory of criminal responsibility as it has been defended to date,developing a version that is not susceptible to the central objections that habe been levelled at character theories.
Finally Part 1 investigates the structure of criminal responsibility, considering the distinction between offence and defence, and investigating how best to categorise and structure defences. In Part 2, Tadros moves on to consider some of the central doctrines of criminal responsibility in the light of the general theory developed in Part 1. He examines the proper nature and role of causation and investigates whether there is a general principle o criminal omissions. The book then explores the nature and role that intentions and beliefs ought to nave in a theory of criminal responsibility. Tadros also provides an account of different kinds of defence: exemptions, justifications and excuses. The book includes a thorough account of the different ways in which mental disorders might ground defences, the different kinds of normative standards that the criminal law ought to set in offence and defence contexts, and whether particular deficiencies of the accused ought to be accommondated in setting those standards.
Publisher: Oxford University Press