Why Is it Wrong to Breach an ASBO?

21 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2009

See all articles by Peter Ramsay

Peter Ramsay

London School of Economics - Law School

Date Written: October 20, 2009


This article reviews the case law on the offence of breach of an ASBO and offers a theory of the public wrong identified by the courts as the reason for punishing people who commit the offence. It argues that the wrong that unifies all breaches of an ASBO is the insecurity caused by defendants’ failure to address their disposition to cause insecurity in others. The greater is the insecurity that they are thought to have caused as a consequence of their failure, the more serious is the wrong and the more severe is the sentence to which they are liable. It is argued that this public protection theory gives a better account of the positive law than two competing accounts, namely the theory that the offence is simple defiance of the court’s authority and the theory that breach of an ASBO is a ‘composite offence’ intended to aggregate many minor wrongs for the purposes of sentencing. Some of the problems and questions raised by the public protection rationale for punishment are briefly considered.

Suggested Citation

Ramsay, Peter, Why Is it Wrong to Breach an ASBO? (October 20, 2009). LSE Legal Studies Working Paper No. 20/2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1491611 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1491611

Peter Ramsay (Contact Author)

London School of Economics - Law School ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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