The Criminal-Civil Distinction and the Utility of Desert
Paul H. Robinson
University of Pennsylvania Law School
Boston University Law Review, Vol. 76, pp. 201-214, 1996
The communist Chinese have distinct criminal and civil systems, as do the democratic Swiss, and the monarchist Saudis.1 The criminal-civil distinction also is a basic organizing device for Islamic Pakistan, Catholic Ireland, Hindu India, and the atheistic former Soviet Union, industrialized Germany, rural Papua New Guinea, the tribal Bedouins, wealthy Singapore, impoverished Somalia, developing Thailand, newly organized Ukraine, and the ancient Romans. Apparently every society sufficiently developed to have a formal legal system usesthe criminal-civil distinction as an organizing principle. Why? Why has every society felt it necessary to create a system to impose criminal liability distinct from civil liability?
Number of Pages in PDF File: 15
Keywords: civil liability, criminal liability, desert, punishment theory
JEL Classification: K14
Date posted: February 4, 2005 ; Last revised: December 4, 2007
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