Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2289479
 


 



Ultima Ratio as Caveat Dominus: Legal Principles, Police Maxims, and the Critical Analysis of Law


Markus D. Dubber


University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

July 3, 2013


Abstract:     
A comparative and historical analysis of the so-called ultima ratio principle reveals that, despite its Latinate veneer, it is neither ancient nor universal, but a recent addition to the German criminal law canon. Upon further inquiry, ultima ratio also turns out to be ill-defined, undermotivated, and toothless, a fundamental legal principle and distinctive feature of criminal law honored in its ubiquitous breach. In the end, the iron legal principle of ultima ratio may appear more like the flexible police maxim of caveat dominus. Its frequent invocation suggests the need to reconceive legal science as a critical analysis of law in general, and of law's supposed principles in particular.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 23

Keywords: ultima ratio, last resort, criminal law, constitutional law

JEL Classification: K14

working papers series


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Date posted: July 5, 2013  

Suggested Citation

Dubber, Markus D., Ultima Ratio as Caveat Dominus: Legal Principles, Police Maxims, and the Critical Analysis of Law (July 3, 2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2289479 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2289479

Contact Information

Markus D. Dubber (Contact Author)
University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )
78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada

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