Harm, Offence and Offesa in the English and the Italian Criminal Law. For a Constitutionalisation of a Unitary Principle of Harm in the English Legal System, also as Criterion of Judicial Interpretation

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Abstract

Despite its liberal tradition, the English law is still far from enforcing the harm principle as a fundamental principle of criminal law. On the one hand, the legislator often criminalises harmless behaviours; on the other hand, courts still seek to enforce morality through criminal law. A new perspective comes from the Italian doctrine of the principio di offensività (literally, principle of harmfulness), in its two-fold dimension of criterion of criminalisation and criterion of judicial interpretation-application. Such principle had a considerable impact on Italian law, to the extent that the Constitutional Court recognised it as a constitutionalised principle of criminal law. This article assesses the possibility of exporting the Italian constitutional oriented approach to the English legal framework, in the attempt of finding some legal and constitutional foundations for the harm principle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-349
Number of pages47
JournalDiritto Penale XXI Secolo
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016

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criminal law
legal system
offense
interpretation
constitutional court
Law
criminalization
morality
doctrine

Keywords

  • Harm
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminalisation
  • Offence
  • UK
  • Italy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law

Cite this

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abstract = "Despite its liberal tradition, the English law is still far from enforcing the harm principle as a fundamental principle of criminal law. On the one hand, the legislator often criminalises harmless behaviours; on the other hand, courts still seek to enforce morality through criminal law. A new perspective comes from the Italian doctrine of the principio di offensivit{\`a} (literally, principle of harmfulness), in its two-fold dimension of criterion of criminalisation and criterion of judicial interpretation-application. Such principle had a considerable impact on Italian law, to the extent that the Constitutional Court recognised it as a constitutionalised principle of criminal law. This article assesses the possibility of exporting the Italian constitutional oriented approach to the English legal framework, in the attempt of finding some legal and constitutional foundations for the harm principle.",
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