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Title: Is the continued criminalisation of passive begging reconcilable with critical morality?
Author: Baker, D.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2007
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The focus of this paper is on the moral limits of the criminal law with respect to the criminalisation of passive begging. In the first Chapter, I outline the problem of overcriminalisation and argue that the contemporary unprincipled approach to criminalisation has led to an overcriminalisation phenomenon. My second chapter examines the criminalisation of passive begging pursuant to the Offence Principle. I argue that passive begging is normatively wrongful and offensive when it treats others with a gross lack of respect and consideration. The moral investigation considers a number of intersecting conventional, contextual and normative factors to build a normative case for claiming that a person has been treated with a gross lack of respect and consideration. I conclude that passive begging is only offensive and wrongfully disrespectful when the beggar solicits a totally captive auditor, such as soliciting those who are held captive in public buses etc. My third chapter considers the criminalisation of passive begging with reference to the Harm Principle. I argue that passive begging is not harmful for the purposes of criminalisation. I also deal with the broken-windows justification for criminalising passive begging. The broken-windows thesis asserts that passive begging is indirectly harmful because it causes other independent parties to commit crimes in the broken-windows area. Allegedly, the beggars signal that the broken-windows area is un-policed and is an easy target for crime. I argue that people can only be criminalised for the remote (‘but for’) consequences of their actions when critical moral reasons can be produced to link them to the primary harm of which they are being held responsible. In my fourth chapter, I address Professors Ripstein and Dan-Cohen’s claim that the Harm Principle ought to be jettisoned as a principle for limiting the scope of the criminal law.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available