Making Modern Criminal Law Theory: Reflections on Farmer

Vincent Chiao


This brief review essay is devoted to a discussion of Lindsay Farmer’s recent book, Making the Modern Criminal Law. I focus on the following themes: a formal and material interpretation of criminal law in facilitating “civil order”; the relation between criminal law’s history and its justification; and the idea that the criminal law forms a sufficiently cohesive and distinctive body of law that it makes sense to ascribe moral principles to it that we would not be prepared to ascribe to public institutions, and public law, more generally.

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