Causation in the Law. H. L. A. Hart and Tony Honoré. Abstract. This text is an updated and extended second edition supporting the findings of its well-known. This chapter maintains that there is no satisfactory analysis of causation in non- causal terms in the huge philosophical literature on the topic. It concludes that. Criteria for the Existence of Causal Connection in Law .. Hart, H.L.A., and Tony Honoré, Causation in the Law, 2nd ed., Oxford: Clarendon.

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Causation in the Law. Even this has been questioned by Malone, who hnore pointed to the incorporation of normative considerations in the rules for proving cause-in-fact in causatikn law. Clarendon Press,pp. This objection can be met by having recourse to the risk theory, a version of the probability theory with strong support in Anglo-American writing in both criminal and civil law Keeton, Seavey, Glanville Williams. Some of those who reject the but-for criterion e.

The idea that responsibility is excluded when the harm in question was conditioned by a later intervention is conventionally thd by saying that an intervening or superseding cause broke the causal link between agency and outcome.

A second reason why honorre harm is not a necessary condition of legal responsibility is that there are many contexts in which a person is civilly or criminally responsible irrespective of whether any harm has been caused by their conduct or that of an agency for which they are responsible.

The function of cause in relation to recipes and prediction points towards the NESS theory.

Causation in the Law

Both inside and outside the law many actions are regarded as wrongful whether or not they cause tangible harm. Hart – – Philosophy 37 Clarendon Press, Objective probability is here contrasted with subjective foreseeability, but this probability must be relative to an assumed epistemic base. The use of these criteria of intervention in legal systems is said to be derived from common sense and to be consistent with treating causal issues in law as questions of fact. A person’s conduct or a natural event or process can always be described in a number of different ways, but only certain descriptions of an alleged cause are crucial in legal proceedings.


Whether someone is liable to punishment or to pay compensation or is entitled to claim compensation often depends on showing whether the person potentially liable or entitled has caused harm of a sort that the law seeks to avoid.

They argue that an agency must be a substantial factor in the harmful outcome in order to be legally a cause of it. Suppose, for example, that in the example given a passer-by deliberately causatioj the claimant into the canal.

Print Save Cite Email Share. But what are the appropriate criteria of limitation? The importance of these questions is that honire in law very often depends on showing that a specific action or event or state of affairs has caused specific harm or loss to another.

One is the scope and purpose of the rule of law in question. Griffin on Human Rights Roger Crisp.

To purchase, visit your preferred ebook provider. This theory, long orthodox in German civil law, but increasingly supplemented by policy-oriented criteria, is intuitively attractive when the agent wrongfully exposes someone to a risk of harm to which they would not otherwise be exposed. In that case the limits set by causal and purposive criteria coincide.


Which condition is taken to preempt the other is sometimes controversial but it is clear than in reaching a decision attention must be paid to the stages causstion processes by which the alleged causes lead to the harmful outcome.

This text is an updated and extended second edition supporting the findings of its well-known predecessor which claimed that courts employ common-sense notions of causation in determining legal responsibility.

Causation in the Law – H. L. A. Hart, Tony Honoré – Google Books

There is no good reason to transfer them from an explanatory to an attributive context. No keywords specified fix it. But in law the third function is particularly ths and controversial. The inquiry will be, for example, into what was necessary or sufficient to cause a particular person’s death on a given occasion, not what are in general the necessary and sufficient conditions of death.

Committee on Publications, Washington University, Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Don’t have an account? These uses of causation by historians, moralists and lawyers raise the question, adumbrated by Collingwood, of whether the attribution of responsibility requires a different conception of cause from that employed for prediction or explanation.

The purposive limits on responsibility have therefore either to be regarded as additional to those later intervention, heightened probability proposed by those who reject causal minimalism, or as replacing them. An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 9

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