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date: 14 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter begins with some remarks about what it would mean for the criminal law to contain an act requirement, and then moves on to how this question, suitably clarified, might be approached. Given the views about what the question means and how one should approach it, it contends that the criminal law does not contain an act requirement but something easily confused with it. The discussion concludes by speculating about why so many distinguished penal theorists mistakenly believe that criminal law contains an act requirement. Perhaps the main practical function of the act requirement is to bar punishment in those relatively unusual cases of strict criminal liability.

Keywords: criminal law, act requirement, penal theorists, criminal liability

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