AuthorMichael Plaxton
[ 551 ]
In a book this long, it may seem self-indulgent to bother with a con-
clusion. Before wrapping up, though, it is worth saying a few things
about my three theses.
First and foremost, I have sought to show that judges regard them-
selves as constrained in how they interpret criminal oences and
how they develop the law concerning defences and incapacity. At
bottom, these constraints are grounded in a commitment to the
separation of powers, and in the idea that criminal oences reect
Parliament’s attempt to provide authoritative guidance to citizens. In
exercising their legitimate — indeed crucial — constitutional role,
judges sometimes step out of bounds. A judge might sometimes sug-
gest that they have the power simply not to apply the law to “triing”
violations, inferring too much from the interpretive presumption of
restraint. Faced with intractable interpretive problems and ambi-
guity in the statutory text, a court might resort to claims that Parlia-
ment intended to empower judges to expand the ambit of a criminal
oence. A court might strike down legislation on the basis that
See the discussion in Chapter .
See the discussion in Chapters  and .

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