Penal theorists who write about punishment theory (why punish?) and criminalization theory (what should be prohibited?) tend to strive for one singular master theory for all the phenomena that might be labelled as criminal offences. The speaker will argue that one can develop better, more fine-grained theoretical frameworks by relinquishing this quest for one master theory. In the field of criminalization, three separate, different approaches are preferable. We should distinguish between violent attacks against persons (the core area of criminal law), other offences against persons, and disregard for collective interests, and recognize that the rationales and structures of criminal prohibitions differ considerably.


Professor Hörnle holds a chair for criminal law, criminal procedure, legal theory and comparative law at the Humboldt University, Belin. Most of her work has been dedicated to a wide range of ethical and social issues, beyond legal doctrinal work.