Civil and Criminal Divide
The Future Of Civil/criminal Distinction
The conceptual and institutional challenges to the civil/criminal distinction show few signs of abating, and thus the question is raised of whether the distinction can or should survive. Economists openly urge a more global approach to sanctioning that would substantially reduce if not entirely eliminate the distinctiveness of civil and criminal sanctions and systems. Some other scholars openly advocate for the recognition of some "middle ground" of sanctioning in which there are mixed rationales for sanctions and a mixed procedural regime that is more protective than the civil one, but less restrictive than the criminal one. Yet other scholars urge that the civil/criminal distinction be more strongly maintained and policed, both to limit strategic avoidance by the government of the strict limitations on criminal sanctioning and in order to protect the distinctive moral voice of the criminal law. It is too early to say which, if any, of these approaches will prevail in legislatures and courts; but the choice will be an important one in the twenty-first century.
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