Criminalisation research in Australia: building a foundation for normative theorising and principled law reform
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In many countries, including Australia, the number of criminal offences has grown exponentially over the last three decades, and the list of activities brought within the category of 'crime' as ocrrespondingly widened. the work 'over-criminalisation' has been coined to capture the phenomenon of the deoployment of criminal law as a policy response or regulatory mechanism beyond its legitimate liimits. Anxiety about this proliferation of criminal laws as a governmental response to a growing list of social and economi harms and, increassingly, risks, runs deep in the work of scholars of criminal law and criminology. Governments have been accused of using criminal law 'broadly and casually as a regulatory tool and for using the criminal law in an unprincipled way, as a high visibility quick fix rather than as a carefully considered and designed policy instrument. Recent Australian examples include Queensland's 'VLAD' law, and the 2014 introduction in New South Wales ('NSW'), Queensland and Victoria of new homicide offences to address 'one-punch' fatalities.
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