The Responsible Mind in South African Criminal Law – Book release

The Responsible Mind in South African Criminal Law – Book release
05 Nov 2018

South African criminal law has accepted that it is only fair to punish those who – if they do wrong – are responsible for doing wrong. Responsibility – that the accused must be blameworthy – finds expression in several specific requirements of South African criminal law: voluntariness, fault, and, in particular, capacity, into which the ‘insanity’ defence falls. The Responsible Mind in South African Criminal Law critically analyses these requirements, and includes an empirical component in this analysis.

The book also identifies and critically analyses the underlying model of responsibility adopted in our law and considers the alternatives. The conclusion from the empirical component and critical analysis is that the specific requirements are unclear and even incoherent, and that this is a function of the underlying model of responsibility, which identifies random capricious and arbitrary conduct as responsible conduct. Alternative models of responsibility are discussed, and a ‘compatibilist’ model of reason sensitivity is selected as a better foundation for criminal responsibility.

The Responsible Mind in South African Criminal Law discusses the implications of adopting this model for the various specific requirements of South African criminal law and proposes appropriate modifications. Ultimately a new model of criminal responsibility and a revised set of specific requirements are proposed, together with a proposed new statutory test for responsibility.

Contents include:

  • Table of Cases
  • Part I: Introduction
    • Introduction
    • Responsibility
    • Criminal liability: General requirements
    • Unlawful conduct
    • Culpability
    • History and development
    • Expert opinion evidence and empirical research
    • A possible golden thread: Proper functioning
  • Part II: Criminal responsibility: The law as it is
    • South African criminal law of responsibility: conceptual framework
    • Capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of one’s conduct
    • Capacity to conduct oneself in accordance with an appreciation of wrongfulness and voluntariness
    • Pathological non-responsibility
    • Non-pathological non-responsibility
  • Part III: The philosophy of responsibility
    • Philosophy of mind: responsibility
  • Part IV: Criminal responsibility—the law as it ought to be
    • Implications and recommendations
    • Conclusion
  • Appendices

Of interest to:

  • Legal academics
  • Legal practitioners
  • Forensic psychologists and psychiatrists

Contact Juta via the blue “Get in touch” button to order your copy or to ask for more information.

See also: Launching Juta’s Pharmapedia: A practical guide to pharmacy and health products regulation

(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
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