Reasonableness and the Reasonable Person Standard in Criminal Law

Wednesday 5 March 2014,

UCL Laws

Social & Legal Philosophy Colloquium

Speaker: Professor Marcia Baron (Professor of Moral Philosophy, University of St. Andrews)
Accreditation: This event is not accredited for CPD

About this talk

The notions of the reasonable and of the reasonable person are often attacked as decidedly not helpful to criminal law and criminal law theory (and often the claim is made with respect not just to criminal law, but law in general). I try to show that the reasonable has a great deal more going for it, for purposes of criminal law, than is often thought.

Elsewhere I try to understand what the basis for the misgivings is. In this paper, I take a step back from the issues in law and criminal law theory and examine the everyday notion of reasonableness, and more specifically to reasonableness understood as a quality we attribute to (some but not all) persons.

By giving it a close look we’ll be in a better position to reflect on the suitability (or lack thereof) of reasonableness for purposes to which it is put to use in the criminal law, e.g., the heat of passion defense and (the culpability level of) negligence.