First published in 1997, this volume examines questions of legal doctrine which have never been far from the study of crime. It has not always been able to keep the doctrinal aspects of law clearly in sight. There is always the pressure to turn to philosophy for the consideration of questions of moral and legal responsibility and to criminology and psychology for the analysis of action. The essays collected in this book turn again to questions of doctrine and consider the dogmatic order of law as the basis of the understanding of crime. It is the general argument of this book that without an understanding of the dogmatic order of the legal subject of crime, there will only ever be answers to questions that have never been appropriately asked.
Loosely collected around questions of institution, judgement and address, these essays bring modern historical, doctrinal and cultural scholarship to bear on the practices of legal doctrine. Their aim is to offer an account of criminal law as a practice that institutes, judges and addresses the legal subject through a range of practices and knowledges. These range from the disciplinary knowledges of mental health to the cultural knowledges of femininity and female desire. They include the technical demands of law writing and court room procedure as well as symbolic powers of imagining corporate crime. These all are returned to the practical question of the production of knowledge through legal doctrine.
These essays address a set of questions that have lain dormant in legal scholarship for much of the post-1945 era. In a time when the authority of law is being reconsidered at its foundations, it is appropriate too to reconsider the means and manner of the transmission of criminal law. Without an understanding of the formation of criminal law it is hardly surprising that questions of law reform raise such confusion.