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Antje du Bois-Pedain: Punishment and the Passage of Time

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Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto

Room 200, Larkin Building, 15 Devonshire Place

Toronto, ON

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Ethics at Noon

Punishment and the Passage of Time

Many (if not most) legal systems make the prosecution of crimes subject to certain time limits, calculated from the time of the commission of the offence. Such criminal statutes of limitation frequently create an absolute barrier to prosecution, even when the available evidence is good, the defence would not be unduly disadvantaged by the lapse of time, and the prosecution is not to be blamed for any delay. This presentation asks whether there are sound reasons to restrict the state’s ability to prosecute crimes through prescription. While my normative arguments are set in a context of a censuring conception of state punishment, I am concerned also to show how institutional concerns affect the legitimacy of prescription.

Antje du Bois-Pedain
Senior Lecturer
Faculty of Law
Cambridge University

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Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto

Room 200, Larkin Building, 15 Devonshire Place

Toronto, ON

Canada

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