Date of this Version


Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Preprint of:
Colvin, E., Criminal responsibility under the South Pacific Codes” (2002) 26 Crim Law Journal, pp. 98-113

This is a preprint of an article which first appeared in the 2002 Criminal Law Journal, Vol 26, published by the ©Lawbook Co., part of Thomson Legal & Regulatory Limited,
With permission.


This paper examines principles of criminal responsibility in those jurisdictions of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia with a heritage of English law. Their criminal codes fall into two main groups. One group follows, to varying degrees, the model of the New Zealand Crimes Act, lacking statements of general principle about responsibility and relying heavily on the common law to supplement the provisions creating particular offences. The other group follows the model of the Queensland Criminal Code, copying its statements of general principle about responsibility. The general principles of the Queensland code effectively base responsibility on objective negligence, in contrast to the subjective principles of the contemporary common law. This paper argues, however, that the divergence of principles rarely translates into differences in the scope of particular offences. The reasons why the elements of offences tend to converge are explored. In the result, the primary significance of the divergence of general principles is methodological rather than substantive. Similar conclusions might be drawn about the differences between those Australian jurisdictions with Queensland-like codes and those drawing on common law principles of responsibility.

Included in

Criminal Law Commons



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