Abstract: The criminal law on intoxicated offending is notoriously complex and technical, featuring distinctive doctrinal constructs and exceptions to otherwise general rules. In order to contribute to scholarly understanding of the law on intoxicated offending, and with a focus on the law in Australia (Victoria and New South Wales), England and Wales, Germany and Switzerland, in this article, we present a two-part analysis of the law. First, we reveal the ways in which, in varying confi gurations, the legal rules on intoxicated offending in the civil and common law contexts are suspended across a tension between principle and pragmatism. Second, we explore the signifi cance of legal culture — broadly, non-doctrinal components of the legal order including traditions, practices and institutions — making the case that dimensions of legal culture relating to intoxicated offending achieve a reconciliation of legal principles with pragmatic concerns to discourage drunken crime, thereby ameliorating the costs of honouring or attempting to honour legal principle when it comes to intoxicated offending.
Keywords: criminal law; intoxication; criminal responsibility; guilt; nulla poena sine culpa; subjective fault
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