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date: 04 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Criminal law occupies an odd position in the field of comparative jurisprudence. Historically speaking, one can occasionally read that comparative law as a serious academic discipline began as comparative criminal law, either in Germany or in France, or both. And yet, introductions to comparative law tend to assume that comparative law means comparative civil law first and foremost. The first section of this chapter describes criminal law’s parochialism. The second section discusses the histories and functions of comparative criminal law. The third section discusses selected topics in comparative law, such as punishment theory, victims, jurisdiction, the principle of legality, the an analysis of criminal liability, and general principles of criminal liability. The last section discusses comparative criminal law in context, arguing that comparative criminal law is best seen as a mode of critical analysis of law, that is, as one way to gain critical distance from a given legal system by placing it within a larger context.

Keywords: comparative jurisprudence, criminal law, criminal liability, critical analysis of law, dual penal state, parochialism, police power, punishment theory

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