Criminal responsibility is the conceptual core of criminal laws: it allows us to hold a person accountable for his or her conduct, and justifies punishment if they’re convicted.
Criminal responsibility is different to criminal liability, which concerns the outcome of a trial. Rather, it relates to whether a person is properly recognised as a subject of the law, or put another way, whether it’s appropriate that he or she is held to the moral standard of behaviour criminal laws encode.
The Conversation is publishing a series of articles on ‘biology and blame’ examining historical and current influences on the notion of criminal responsibility.
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