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date: 19 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses comparative criminal law and demonstrates how comparative analysis can elucidate both domestic and international aspects of criminal law. After explaining what it means to do comparative criminal law and how it differs from similar endeavors, such as compiling the criminal law doctrines of different jurisdictions, the chapter considers the usefulness of comparative analysis in terms of strengthening domestic criminal law doctrines and understanding international criminal law. It also outlines some obstacles to be overcome in order to engage in meaningful comparative analysis, such as language, legal, historical, and cultural barriers. It compares common law and civil law approaches to legal reasoning and presents two examples of doing comparative criminal law by comparing common law and civil law approaches to attempt liability and then exploring mens rea, with an emphasis on the differences between the continental mental state of dolus eventualis and the Anglo-American mental state of recklessness.

Keywords: comparative criminal law, criminal law, attempt liability, mens rea, common law, civil law, legal reasoning, dolus eventualis, recklessness

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