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    • Thread Starter

    i need some help in deciding what to put in the following essay:

    The criminal law should be used, and used only, to censure persons for substantial wrongdoing

    • PS Helper

    PS Helper
    There are quite a few things which you could bring into this essay; particularly with regards to the controversy that surrounds Anti-Social Behaviour Orders and the extent to which the criminal law often intervenes in private life. R v Brown is probably a pretty important case to make reference to. If you're really struggling for ideas I guess you could even bring in the whole misfeasance/ nonfeasance debate, etc. This essay is basically asking whether or not the criminal law should be used to prosecute petty criminals and why.

    Another very important strand is the inchoate offences. In particular, the law on conspiracy - people can be prosecuted for conspiring to commit a criminal act before there is any substantial wrongdoing.

    If it were me, I'd probably look at the various thresholds for "substantial wrongdoing" that the different theories of criminal law might support.

    Is economic harm (e.g. shoplifting) a "substantial wrongdoing"? Arguably, it is a private matter between the shop and the thief.

    Does "wrongdoing" include acts done to consenting parties (e.g. Brown as mentioned above)

    Also, the inchoate offences issue, as mentioned by m'learned friend Mr Potato, is a good one.

    Finally, "censure" implies that this is less about protecting the public, and more about discouraging bad behaviour. That could lead to an interesting line of argument over whether it is right to imprison individuals that don't pose any threat to the community.
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