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Rethinking Self-Defence

The 'Ancient Right's' Rationale Disentangled

By: T Markus Funk
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Published: 14-01-2021
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 280
ISBN: 9781509934171
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP: £80.00
Online price : £72.00
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About Rethinking Self-Defence

Self-defence – the 'ancient right' – has never been more relevant than in the present era of widespread calls for criminal justice reform. The book substantially advances the patinaed discussion by introducing for the first time a comprehensive value-centric approach to thinking about the defence's deeper rationale. It tackles core issues such as the relative importance of the State's claimed monopoly on force, procedural justice and the need to shore up the justice system's legitimacy and creditworthiness, everyone's presumptive 'right to life,' and the importance of ensuring equal standing between citizens. And, in so doing, the book breaks ground by addressing public perceptions of 'just' and 'right' outcomes, as well as the emphasis legal systems place (and should place) on State power.

Table Of Contents

Interim Table of Contents
1. Introduction
2. Developing the 'value-based model' of self-defence
3. Suggestions for how to approach conceptualizing and ordering the competing values as potential decision-grounds
4. The value-based model of self-defence and the 'forfeiture' of rights
5. Surveying and evaluating key competing theoretical conceptions of self-defence
6. Forced choice conception of self-defence
7. Value-based deeper dive #1: is self-defence a justification or excuse
8. Value-based deeper dive #2: when is defensive force 'necessary'?
9. Value-based deeper dive #3: proportionality of defensive force
10. Application of the value-based model to other 'hard cases'
11. Examining the subject jurisdictions' treatment of self-defence from a value-centric perspective
12. Parting reflections


“Dr Funk in exemplary fashion examines a central question of modern political life. The result is a book that offers the most detailed comparativist study on the subject yet published.” –  Daniel Polsby, Dean Emeritus, Antonin Scalia School of Law, George Mason University

“Through his innovative and sensible 'value-based' approach, Dr Funk offers and important fresh take on self-defense's key practical and theoretical issues.” –  Hon Bernice B Donald, US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

“'[E]in großer Wurf' (a 'major coup') in the area of self-defence theory and analysis [offering] the first perfectly accurate and comprehensive English summary of the history of, and nuanced debate over, the past and present self-defence law in Germany.” –  Volker Erb, Professor of Law, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany

“This thorough and enlightening analysis will stand as the most comprehensive review of self-defense law to come forth in decades. … [A] fascinating read for legal scholars and criminal law practitioners alike.” –  Hon Virginia M Kendall, US District Court for the ND of Illinois and former Assistant US Attorney

“Dr Funk's robust and fresh approach provides a powerful analytical framework to analyse this core right that has so dominated contemporary scholarly and political debates … I highly recommend this book.” –  Robert Leider, Assistant Professor, Antonin Scalia School of Law, George Mason University

“An engaging analysis that is recommended reading for anyone with an interest in criminal law defences.” –  Mark Dsouza, Deputy Director, Centre for Criminal Law, University College London

“Dr Funk's book … offers convincing answers to many of the issues regarding self-defence's most challenging practical and theoretical questions. I find it thought-provoking and highly recommend it.” –  Boaz Sangero, Professor of Law, The College of Law and Business and The Sapir Academic College School of Law, Israel

“The book provides a thoughtful, deep, and nuanced way for the reader to think about the deadly-force controversies we face in the 21st Century.” –  Joshua Dressler, Distinguished University Professor, The Ohio State University

“Funk's truly exceptional book is a timely contribution to a searing national debate on the first of all civil rights.” –  William Hogan, US Department of Justice

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