Prohibitions against offensive conduct have existed for many years, but their extent and use was on the decline. Recently however, several jurisdictions-including England and Wales-have moved to broaden the reach and severity of measures against "incivilities". New UK measures include expanded targeting of unpopular forms of public conduct, such as begging, and legislation authorizing magistrates to issue prohibitory orders against anti-social behavior. Because these quality-of-life prohibitions can be so restrictive of personal liberties, it is essential to develop adequate guiding and limiting principles concerning state intervention in this area. Incivilities addresses the legal regulation of offensive behavior. Topics include the nature of offensiveness, the grounds and permissible scope of criminal prohibitions against offensive behavior, the legitimacy of civil orders against incivilities, and identifying the social trends that have generated current political interest in preventing incivilities through intervention of law. These questions are addressed by distinguished philosophers, criminal law theorists, criminologists, and sociologists. In an area that has attracted much public comment but little theoretical analysis to date, these essays develop a fuller conceptual framework for debating questions about the legal regulation of offensive behavior.
Publication Date: 10/1/2006