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date: 01 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the role of causation in criminal law and especially as a central ingredient of criminal responsibility. It first discusses whether results should matter in the determination of legal and moral responsibility before considering causation within the contexts of criminal law and tort law. It highlights the ambivalence surrounding the use of the words “causation” and “cause” in many legal orders and goes on to explore what constitutes a cause and the philosophical debate about the causal relata—the objects connected by the causal relation. Some of the common problems in standard accounts of causation, particularly counterfactual dependency (sine qua non, but for), are also reviewed. The chapter concludes by summarizing a number of approaches to restrict factual causation, including those relating to proximity, the notion of “harm within the risk” or “harm within the scope of the rule violated,” “ordinary hazards,” intervening causes, and culpability.

Keywords: causation, criminal law, criminal responsibility, results, tort law, cause, causal relata, proximity, harm within the risk, culpability

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