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Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy x Jaar 2013 x
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Access_open Presumption of Innocence Versus a Principle of Fairness

A Response to Duff

Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Aflevering 3 2013
Trefwoorden rules, principles, fairness, PoI
Auteurs Magnus Ulväng
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In my response to Duff I focus mainly on the following two issues. Firstly, I examine what kind of a norm the presumption of innocence (PoI) really is and how it ontologically differs from other types of rules, principles, rationales, etc. My tentative conclusion is that a PoI does not suffice the requirement of being a dogmatic rule and, thus, has less weight than what Duff perhaps assumes.
    Secondly, I examine what role the concept of innocence plays in the debate on fundamental (moral and legal) principles and the underlying rationales of a criminal law system. Although I am sympathetic to much of what Duff purports in his plea for civic trust and a parsimonious use of criminal law, I am reluctant to believe that it is really a broader version of a PoI that warrants the kind of morally decent criminal law system that he suggests normatively ought to be. In my view, most of what Duff wants to ascribe to the PoI can be derived from a principle of fairness which, in my view, is already embedded in the fundamentals of criminal law doctrine.


Magnus Ulväng
Magnus Ulväng is Professor of Criminal Law at Uppsala University.
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