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date: 29 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores public welfare offenses in the context of criminal law and the insights they offer about jurisdictions that embrace them. After defining public welfare offenses and strict criminal liability, it considers widely accepted historical and practical explanations for public welfare offenses. The chapter raises questions about the meaningfulness of public welfare offsenses as a distinct category and offers explanations for the strong Anglo-American endorsement of strict criminal liability, even for elements of more serious crimes that carry significant punishments. It also examines culpability in public welfare offenses and defenses to strict liability before concluding with a discussion of limits on criminal culpability.

Keywords: public welfare offense, criminal law, strict criminal liability, serious crime, punishment, culpability, defenses

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