chapter  5
10 Pages

Legislating against hate

WithGail Mason

This chapter examines the ways in which the concept of hate crime is translated into, and regulated by, law. It presents a tripartite model for understanding hate crime legislation across national borders and, in turn, the common elements that distinguish a hate crime from an ordinary crime under the law. The chapter offers a transnational snapshot of hate crime laws and some of the key debates and dilemmas that currently surround them. Throughout the 1990s, legislatures thus became increasingly receptive to the idea that purpose-built laws were necessary to punish, deter and denounce prejudice-motivated crime; and increasingly cognisant of the political benefits of demonstrating state support for minority groups in this way. The penalty enhancement model is probably the most common form of hate crime legislation in Europe and the US. In the US in particular, constitutional challenges to hate crime legislation have, according to some, necessitated the construction of different kinds of tests, particularly the ‘discriminatory selection’ test.