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Article

Access_open Presumption of Innocence Versus a Principle of Fairness

A Response to Duff

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2013
Keywords rules, principles, fairness, PoI
Authors Magnus Ulväng
AbstractAuthor's information

    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.
Article

Access_open Absolute Positivism

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2013
Keywords jurisprudence, legal positivism, Hans Kelsen, pure theory of law
Authors Christoph Kletzer
AbstractAuthor's information

    The paper argues that we miss the point and strength of Kelsen’s Pure Theory of Law if we take it to drive a middle way between reductionism and moralism. Rather conversely, the Pure Theory is a radical theory. It tries to overcome the opposition between reductionism and moralism by making clear that both opponents rest on the same ill-conceived convictions about legal validity. Both take it that the law cannot be normative by itself. In contrast, the Pure Theory tries to find a new approach to the understanding of law that takes seriously the constitutive functions of law. It tries to understand the validity of law as resting in law itself. As such it is an attempt to find a philosophically satisfactory formulation of what can be called absolute positivism.


Christoph Kletzer
Christoph Kletzer is a Senior Lecturer at the Dickson Poon School of Law at King’s College in London.

Luigi Corrias
Luigi Corrias is Assistant Professor of Legal Philosophy at VU University Amsterdam.
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