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date: 26 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the doctrine of consent in criminal law and the debates surrounding its meaning and boundaries. The defense of consent is reviewed in its relation to the goals and justification of punishment. The chapter outlines the requirements for valid consent and exposes the controversies associated with those requirements. The chapter gives special consideration to the issue of consent to serious physical harm and analyzes the rationales for disallowing such consent; among those are: breach of peace, susceptibility to becoming public charge, immorality, violation of dignity, and disrespect for law and social order. Finally, the chapter proposes a new set of requirements for the defense of consent that would lead to more fair, consistent, and morally sustainable criminal adjudication.

Keywords: doctrine of consent, defense of consent, criminal law, attitudinal consent, performative consent, punishment, legal competence, physical harm, sadomasochistic beating, religious flagellation

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