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Cover Ashworth's Principles of Criminal Law

3. Criminal Law Values  

The focus in this chapter is on the values the criminal law seeks to protect through criminalization. First, key ‘intrinsic values’ are considered, such as bodily integrity and sexual autonomy. Second, an analysis of ‘public goods’ is provided. Public goods are goods in which we have no individual right or share, but which benefit us in common with others. The criminal law protects public goods as part of its role in supporting our many different lives in common, as consumers, employees, users of roads and of public transport, and so on. The security of the state, openness and integrity in corporate governance and public life, and the common pool resource of a welfare system are all very different examples of public goods in this sense.