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date: 21 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the divide between traditional criminal law and the law governing regulatory offenses. It examines four seminal theoretical accounts invoked over the past 200 years to explain and justify the differences in the norms and practices of enforcement related to criminal law and the law of administrative sanctions. Each account is based on a vision of the proper mission of the state in organizing and wielding coercive power over its citizens: classical liberal state, authoritarian welfare state, egalitarian-liberal welfare state, new regulatory state. It highlights foundational issues in political theory and moral philosophy, including the legitimate basis for criminalization and state punishment, the individual’s relationship to the state and society, and use of non-criminal sanctions in mitigating the effects of overcriminalization. It addresses the relationship between regulatory enforcement and pursuit of justice and the manner in which the state should motivate an individual to comply with regulatory norms.

Keywords: criminal law, regulatory offense, administrative law, classical liberal state, authoritarian welfare state, egalitarian-liberal welfare state, regulatory state, criminalization, punishment, non-criminal sanctions

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