Neuroscientific Evidence and Criminal Responsibility in the Netherlands

INTERNATIONAL NEUROLAW: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS, pp. 227-256, T.M. Spranger, ed., Heidelberg etc, Springer, 2012

25 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2013  

Laura Klaming

Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT); Tilburg University - Private Law Department

Bert-Jaap Koops

Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT)

Date Written: March 30, 2012

Abstract

Insights from neuroscientific research are increasingly advancing our understanding of the neural correlates of human behaviour, cognition and emotion and can therefore be of significant practical use in a legal context. One of the most fundamental legal applications of neuroscience refers to the assessment of criminal responsibility. Recent empirical studies have established links between certain brain structures and antisocial or criminal behaviour. Three areas of brain abnormalities that are relevant for assessments of criminal responsibility can be differentiated: (1) impairments in the frontal lobes and associated problems with impulse control, aggressiveness and the processing of information that is evocative of moral emotions, (2) abnormalities in the limbic system and associated problems in affective processing, and (3) the potential side-effects of neurotechnologies and associated problems with impulse control, aggressiveness and disinhibited behavior. This chapter addresses recent research findings in these three areas and how these could affect responsibility assessments. In addition, eight cases are discussed in which insights from neuroscientific research have been used by Dutch courts in responsibility assessments. By illustrating how neuroscientific evidence has already entered the courtroom in the Netherlands, the possible conditions and implications of such practice are addressed.

Keywords: neuroscience, evidence, criminal law, case-law, Netherlands, criminal responsibility

JEL Classification: K14, K42, O38

Suggested Citation

Klaming, Laura and Koops, Bert-Jaap, Neuroscientific Evidence and Criminal Responsibility in the Netherlands (March 30, 2012). INTERNATIONAL NEUROLAW: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS, pp. 227-256, T.M. Spranger, ed., Heidelberg etc, Springer, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2218544

Laura Klaming

Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT) ( email )

P.O.Box 90153
Prof. Cobbenhagenlaan 221
Tilburg, 5037
Netherlands

Tilburg University - Private Law Department ( email )

Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Bert-Jaap Koops (Contact Author)

Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT) ( email )

P.O.Box 90153
Prof. Cobbenhagenlaan 221
Tilburg, 5037
Netherlands

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