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Cover Ashworth's Principles of Criminal Law

4. Criminal Law Fabric  

This chapter analyses the fabric of criminal law—rules, standards, and principles—giving examples of how each of these are used to construct the criminal law. A particular highlight, in the discussion of rules, is the importance of secondary legislation in creating offences, especially offences regulating business activity. The chapter also considers the values that the criminal law should respect, such as human rights, moral autonomy, and lifestyle autonomy. To that end, the chapter explains the harm principle, and the arguments for and against punishing ‘immoral’ behaviour. There is also an analysis of important principles of criminal offence construction and interpretation, such as the principle of strict construction and the authoritarian principle.