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Criminal Law is the branch of law that deals with crimes. The study of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology is called Criminal Science. While criminology studies the causes of crime, penology studies the punitive and preventive measures. Criminology nourishes penal policy, and penal policy shapes criminal law.
The doctrine of criminal law, in addition to the fundamental or basic principles of criminal liability, is called the General Principles of Criminal Law or the Penal Law Theory. A large part of criminal law consists of specific rules that define various offences, but the enforcement of these rules is controlled by well-organized doctrines of criminal law that deal with various conditions relating to criminal liability. These doctrines have been derived from the fundamental principles relating to criminology – the principle of legality, mens rea(guilty mind), actus reus(guilty conduct), harm and punishment. The combined meaning of the fundamental principles and the doctrine can be generalized as: “the harm prescribed by a penal law must be imputed to a normal adult who voluntarily commits it with a criminal intention and such a person must be subject to a legally prescribed punishment”. The Criminal/Penal Law Theory is largely concerned with the elucidation of this generalization.
The modern approach to crime is a functional approach which concentrates on the functions or purposes of criminal law in the society. According to the Wolfenden Committee of England, the purposes are:
- To preserve public peace, order and decency.
- To protect the citizens from what is injurious or offensive.
- To provide sufficient safeguards against exploitation and corruption of others particularly those who are weak or are in a state of physical, official or economic principle dependence.
The essential elements of a crime are Mens rea, Actus reusandharm or injury. In pre-meditated crimes, there are four distinct stages:
These stages are not apparent in crimes committed at the spur of the moment.
Criminal Law as a subject is widely studied across most law schools and colleges. At times, certain criminal cases appear so complex and baffling that students end up either putting their law assignments and projects off for the last day, or get low marks due to incomplete understanding of the topic. For your hour of need, our expert team is ready to provide you quality law assignment help that will help you secure excellent grades and improve your understanding of the subject.
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