Madness and Mental Health: 2023-4

Mental Disorder and the Criminal Law: Doctrines of Legal Insanity

Claire Hogg discusses the theoretical basis for the defence of “legal insanity”.

In this talk, I discuss the theoretical basis for the defence of legal “insanity”.  With reference to multiple jurisdictions, I explore a number of competing analyses by which the relevance of a defendant’s mental disorder to their criminal culpability may be understood, including counterfactual analyses and capacity models.  I conclude by proposing two potential alternative accounts, either of which (I propose) may be more capable of capturing the flexibility of our intuitions in paradigm “insanity” cases than the standard models.

  • About the speaker

    Claire Hogg is a researcher in criminal law and legal theory, with additional interests in medical law (most specifically mental health and capacity law), and moral philosophy. She is particularly interested in questions that arise at the intersections of these fields, and her current research is concentrated on mental disorder as a factor relevant to culpability determinations within the criminal law.

    She is currently working at UCL as a second-year postdoctoral research fellow with Roots of Responsibility, a 5-year €2.1 million interdisciplinary project between UCL and Oxford that aims to explore dimensions of free will, agency, and responsibility from legal, philosophical, and sociological perspectives. Claire is also a visiting lecturer at King’s College London, where she leads the postgraduate module “Criminal Law and Mental Disorder: Doctrine and Philosophy” for the MA Medical Ethics and Law.