PhD ceremony: Mr. E.M. Witjens, 16.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Title: Strafrechtelijke causaliteit. De redelijke toerekening vergeleken met het privaatrecht
Promotor(s): prof. G. Knigge, prof. M.H. Wissink
The connection between cause and effect, in other words: the causal link, isn’t a straightforward affair for jurists. This is because of the normative approach that both Criminal and Civil Law impose upon it. To factually cause an effect, an empirical finding, differs from causing an effect in the legal sense of the word.
The theories that were devised in the law over the course of time have been unable to fully explain the difference with empirical causation. Because these theories are, for the most part, common to Criminal and Civil Law, the two areas were subjected tocomprehensive study and a fundamental comparison was made.
It was found that the underlying principle of causation in the law, according to which a necessary condition for an effect to occur is classified as a cause if without it the effect would fail to materialize (the so-called ‘condicio sine qua non’ test), does not sit well with (empirical) reality. A decision on empirical causation always implies a certain amount of uncertainty. The c.s.q.n. test conceals this. Other theories also bring about problems in their application.
This bolstered the notion that a new approach for Criminal Causation should be devised. The understanding of the issue, accumulated while researching, made clear that the current system can be of no use anymore. The fundamental revision of causation in the law that has been devised in this thesis, lays a stronger foundation for the decision about causality and makes it possible to gain insight into this issue.
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