Recklessness – the continuing search for a definition

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Abstract

This article examines the different approaches to determining recklessness in the criminal law and the advantages and disadvantages of each will be explored in relation to issues of moral culpability. Whilst a subjective definition of recklessness might seem attractive it fails to catch all those who are morally blameworthy. In contrast, a purely objective
interpretation can lead to injustice in circumstances where the defendant lacked the capacity to foresee the risk of harm. It will be argued that recklessness based upon conscious advertence produces too narrow a
definition and culpable inadvertence should be encompassed by examining why no thought was given to the risk.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)313-334
JournalJournal of Criminal Law
Volume72
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

This article examines the different approaches to determining recklessness in the criminal law and the advantages and disadvantages of each will be explored in relation to issues of moral culpability. Whilst a subjective definition of recklessness might seem attractive it fails to catch all those who are morally blameworthy. In contrast, a purely objective interpretation can lead to injustice in circumstances where the defendant lacked the capacity to foresee the risk of harm. It will be argued that recklessness based upon conscious advertence produces too narrow a definition and culpable inadvertence should be encompassed by examining why no thought was given to the risk.

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