Alan Brudner and the Dialectics of Criminal Law

17 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2010

See all articles by Alan W. Norrie

Alan W. Norrie

University of Warwick - School of Law

Date Written: October 25, 2010


This paper considers Alan Brudner's theory of punishment and criminal law in the light of his renewal of a 'political' account which rests alongside the existing 'moral' and 'critical' accounts in the field. It supports the political account vis a vis the moral account but finds it wanting vis a vis the critical. It discusses the problems of a tripartite account of freedom (formal, real and communal) in Brudner's work in the light of the cases of DPP v Morgan and R v Steane, and in particular the difficulty in holding the three parts apart. From a critical perspective, it suggest that Brudner may not have achieved a synthesis but simply managed to reformulate the existing tensions in the law. The paper ends with consideration of the old problem of 'just deserts in an unjust society'.

Keywords: Punishment, Crime, Political, Critical, Freedom, Contradiction

JEL Classification: K1, K14

Suggested Citation

Norrie, Alan W., Alan Brudner and the Dialectics of Criminal Law (October 25, 2010). Warwick School of Law Research Paper No. 2010/24, Available at SSRN: or

Alan W. Norrie (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - School of Law ( email )

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