Manifest Madness: Mental Incapacity in the Criminal Law

Manifest Madness: Mental Incapacity in the Criminal Law

Hardback Oxford Monographs on Criminal Law & Justice

By (author) Arlie Loughnan

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 312 pages
  • Dimensions: 158mm x 238mm x 30mm | 599g
  • Publication date: 18 June 2012
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199698597
  • ISBN 13: 9780199698592
  • Sales rank: 439,490

Product description

A PDF version of this book is available for free in open access via www.oup.com/uk as well as the OAPEN Library platform, www.oapen.org. It has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 3.0 license and is part of the OAPEN-UK research project. Whether it is a question of the age below which a child cannot be held liable for their actions, or the attribution of responsibility to defendants with mental illnesses, mental incapacity is a central concern for legal actors, policy makers, and legislators when it comes to crime and justice. Understanding mental incapacity in criminal law is notoriously difficult; it involves tracing overlapping and interlocking legal doctrines, current and past practices of evidence and proof, and also medical and social understandings of mental illness and incapacity. With its focus on the complex interaction of legal doctrines and practices relating to mental incapacity and knowledge - both expert and non-expert - of it, this book offers a fresh perspective on this topic. Bringing together previously disparate discussions on mental incapacity from law, psychology, and philosophy, this book provides a close study of this terrain of criminal law, analysing the development of mental incapacity doctrines through historical cases to the modern era. It maps the shifting boundaries around abnormality as constructed in law, arguing that the mental incapacity terrain has a distinct character - 'manifest madness'.

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Author information

Dr Arlie Loughnan is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the University of Sydney. Her research concerns criminal law and the criminal justice system, with a focus on the relationship between legal doctrines, practices, institutions, and knowledge. Her particular interests are criminal responsibility and non-responsibility, the interaction of legal and expert medical knowledges and the historical development of the criminal law. Dr Loughnan holds a PhD from LSE and an LLM from NYU Law School.

Review quote

Manifest Madness offers a theoretically sophisticated, historically informed account of seven aspects of English criminal law which it identifies as making up the 'terrain' of mental incapacity. Tony Ward, Modern Law Review Manifest Madness offers readers a remarkably comprehensive and insightful analysis of the interaction of defenses based on mental derangement with the evolution of common law principles centering on criminal culpability. Surveying a wealth of materials - contemporary legal texts, Parliamentary legislation, and criminal cases from the Old Bailey; social histories of popular attitudes on madness; tracts of medical psychology and increasingly assertive professional opinion - Arlie Loughnan has produced a work that will become the standard text for historians of law, medicine and the criminal courts. Particularly noteworthy is her explanation of the 'formalization' of legal procedures regarding the prosecution of trials that tuned on the question of mental distraction. Lucidly written and cogently argued, her scholarship is a pleasure to read. Joel Peter Eigen, Charles A. Dana Professor of Sociology, Franklin & Marshall College Manifest Madness is a book of great merit. It is a thoroughly researched and engaging piece of work that successfully marries deep, theoretical and normative issues with detailed consideration of legal doctrine and procedure, an achievement that few scholars attempt let alone accomplish. Loughnan is to be congratulated for producing a book that strengthens this exciting field. Chloe Kennedy, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Law Review Loughnan's Manifest Madness is an original and thoughtful analysis of ways in which the law has grappled with the abnormal. It challenges the reader to reconceptualise a range of the defences and mitigating factors that are part and parcel of the contemporary legal landscape. Its use of social and historical contextualisation develops previous analyses and is lively. The work is thoroughly researched and interestingly argued... Manifest Madness should be welcomed as a fresh and conceptually challenging contribution to criminal law theory. Ian Freckelton, Psychiatry, Psychology and Law An important monograph, which contains a novel and thought provoking analysis of the role of mental incapacity in the criminal law. Underpinning her analysis with historical research, the author gives a unique insight into the nature and character of mental incapacity doctrines which takes the reader well beyond insanity and related defences to include infancy, intoxication, infanticide and unfitness to plead. The result is a book which will not only challenge and enlighten scholarly debate but also will help to stimulate and inform the current reform agenda. Ronnie D. Mackay, Professor of Criminal Policy and Mental Health, De Montfort University

Table of contents

PART I ; 1. The Terrain of Mental Incapacity in Criminal Law ; 2. Putting Mental Incapacity Together Again ; 3. 'Manifest Madness': The Intersection of 'Madness' and Crime ; PART II ; 4. Dynamics of Inclusion and Exclusion: Unfitness to Plead & Infancy ; 5. Incapacity and Disability: The Exculpatory Doctrines of Insanity and Automatism ; 6. Knowing and Proving Exculpatory Mental Incapacity ; PART III ; 7. 'Since the Days of Noah': The Law of Intoxicated Offending ; 8. Gender, 'Madness', and Crime: The Doctrine of Infanticide ; 9. Differences of Degree and Differences of Kind: Diminished Responsibility ; Bibliography