IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Bentham on Presumed Offences

  • SCHAUER, FREDERICK
Registered author(s):

    In the Principles of the Penal Code , Jeremy Bentham described offences that he labelled presumed or evidentiary. The conduct penalized under such offences is punished not because it is intrinsically wrong, but because it probabilistically indicates the presence of an intrinsic wrong. Bentham was sceptical of the need to create offences, but grudgingly accepted their value in light of deficiencies in procedure and the judiciary. These days the scepticism is even greater, with courts and commentators in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and elsewhere believing that such ‘proxy’ offences deny a defendant the right to establish that he did not engage in the conduct that the presumed offence probabilistically but not necessarily indicates. On closer analysis, however, such scepticism appears unjustified. Almost all offences, and indeed almost all legal rules, are premised on a probabilistic relationship between the behaviour the rule encompasses and the behaviour that is the rule-maker's real concern. Presumed offences may make this relationship especially obvious, but it is a relationship that exists whenever the law operates by the use of rules.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S0953820811000252
    File Function: link to article abstract page
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Utilitas.

    Volume (Year): 23 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 04 (December)
    Pages: 363-379

    as
    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:cup:utilit:v:23:y:2011:i:04:p:363-379_00
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Cambridge University Press, UPH, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 8BS UK
    Web page: http://journals.cambridge.org/jid_UTI
    Email:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:utilit:v:23:y:2011:i:04:p:363-379_00. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Keith Waters)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.