Uxorial privileges in substantive criminal law: a comparative law enquiry.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This thesis investigates three exemplars of uxorial substantive privileges in the criminal law: the marital coercion doctrine, the intraspousal conspiracy exemption, and the uxorial post-offence accessorial immunity. Their history, choreography and variations are comparatively investigated across the common law jurisdictions including the impact of statutory interventions. The principal argument is that the judicial and legislative treatment of these uxorial privileges has been inconsistent or erratic so that they are not the products of any systematic, modern development in the criminal law. This thesis proposes that there is no justification for their continued retention in common law legal systems. Archival, Parliamentary, and other sources have been used to identify the factors impinging upon the creation of specific statutory uxorial privileges. The diaspora of these laws throughout the other common law jurisdictions is investigated. The discussion is illustrated by examination of the particular issues raised by polygamy, customary law concubinage as well as by gender-reassignment. This thesis examines whether both gender-specific and marriage-specific criteria are valid constituents within the parameters of substantive criminal law. It traces the genesis of these special defences within the criminal law available exclusively to women, from the time of King Ine of the West Saxons c712, to examine the current status of such laws throughout common law jurisdictions. The investigation explores factors shaping the creation of a statutory defence of marital coercion by the British Parliament in 1925 and outlines the challenges generated by that law and its extraordinary resilience. This thesis demonstrates the failure of the criminal law to provide an overarching construct to implement emergent gender equality.
Subjectsuxorial privileges in criminal law
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