Emergent Authority and Expert Knowledge: Psychiatry and Criminal Responsibility in the UK

International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, Vol. 37, No. 1, pp. 25-36, 2014

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 16/81

41 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2016

See all articles by Arlie Loughnan

Arlie Loughnan

The University of Sydney Law School

Tony Ward

University of Hull - School of Law

Date Written: September 14, 2016

Abstract

In the UK context, the rise of the discipline and practice of forensic psychiatry is intimately connected with the concurrent development of principles and practices relating to criminal responsibility. In this article, we seek to chart the relationship between psychiatry and the principles and practices of criminal responsibility in the UK over the early modern, modern and late modern periods. With a focus on claims about authority and expert knowledge around criminal responsibility, we suggest that these claims have been in a state of perpetual negotiation and that, as a result, claims to authority over and knowledge about criminal non-responsibility on the part of psychiatrists and psychiatry are most accurately understood as emergent and contingent. The apparent formalism of legal discourse has tended to conceal the extent to which legal policy has been preoccupied with maintaining the primacy of lay judgments in criminal processes of evaluation and adjudication. While this policy has been somewhat successful in the context of the trial – particularly the murder trial – it has been undermined by administrative procedures surrounding the trial, including those that substitute treatment for punishment without, or in spite of, a formal determination of criminal responsibility.

Keywords: Criminal Responsibility, 'Manifest Madness', Expert Knowledge, M'Naghten Rules

JEL Classification: K10, K14, K30, K32

Suggested Citation

Loughnan, Arlie and Ward, Tony, Emergent Authority and Expert Knowledge: Psychiatry and Criminal Responsibility in the UK (September 14, 2016). International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, Vol. 37, No. 1, pp. 25-36, 2014; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 16/81. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2839072

Arlie Loughnan (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
+61 2 9351 0246 (Phone)
+61 2 9351 0200 (Fax)

Tony Ward

University of Hull - School of Law ( email )

University of Hull
Hull, HU6 7RX
United Kingdom

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