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Essays in Criminal Law in Honour of Sir Gerald Gordon$
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James Chalmers and Fiona Leverick

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780748640706

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748640706.001.0001

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The Idea of Principle in Scots Criminal Law

The Idea of Principle in Scots Criminal Law

(p.86) 6 The Idea of Principle in Scots Criminal Law
Essays in Criminal Law in Honour of Sir Gerald Gordon

Lindsay Farmer

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter tries to articulate some of the ideas about principle — or the uses of the term — that are embedded in doctrinal writings on Scots criminal law. It then examines conceptions of principle in the literature of Scots criminal law, from Baron Hume's Commentaries to Gordon's Criminal Law, looking at the different conceptions of principle and their implications for the substantive criminal law. In so doing, it argues that Gordon's justly celebrated treatise on Criminal Law was primarily organised around an idea of principle that was in important respects alien to Scots criminal law, but that his distinctive and important contribution lies in the way that he was able in this work to graft this conception onto the more native and traditional ideas of principle that had informed the earlier development of Scots criminal law.

Keywords:   Scots criminal law, principles, Baron Hume, Commentaries, criminal law

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